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Grey-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type   Average mass 312 g


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 6,410,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 33,700,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Stable -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 11.5 - - -
Trend justification: Although Wetlands International consider the current population trend to be unknown, it is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Algeria Vagrant Extant        
Angola Native Extant        
Argentina Native Extant        
Benin Native Extant        
Botswana Native Extant        
Brazil Native Extant        
Burkina Faso Vagrant Extant        
Burundi Native Extant        
Cameroon Native Extant        
Central African Republic Vagrant Extant        
Chad Native Extant        
Comoros Vagrant Extant        
Congo Unknown Extant        
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Native Extant        
Côte d'Ivoire Vagrant Extant        
Ecuador Native Extant   Yes    
Egypt Vagrant Extant        
Equatorial Guinea Unknown Extant        
Ethiopia Native Extant        
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Vagrant Extant        
French Southern Territories Unknown Extant        
Gabon Unknown Extant        
Gambia Native Extant        
Ghana Vagrant Extant        
Guinea Native Extant        
Guinea-Bissau Native Extant Yes      
Israel Vagrant Extant        
Jordan Vagrant Extant        
Kenya Native Extant        
Lesotho Vagrant Extant        
Liberia Vagrant Extant        
Madagascar Native Extant        
Malawi Native Extant        
Mali Native Extant        
Mauritania Native Extant        
Mayotte (to France) Unknown Extant        
Morocco Native Extant        
Mozambique Native Extant        
Namibia Native Extant        
Niger Native Extant        
Nigeria Native Extant        
Panama Vagrant Extant        
Paraguay Native Extant        
Peru Native Extant        
Rwanda Native Extant        
São Tomé e Príncipe Unknown Extant        
Senegal Native Extant Yes      
Seychelles Unknown Extant        
Sierra Leone Native Extant        
Somalia Vagrant Extant        
South Africa Native Extant Yes      
Spain Vagrant Extant        
Sudan Native Extant     Yes  
Swaziland Native Extant        
Tanzania Native Extant        
Togo Vagrant Extant        
Tunisia Vagrant Extant        
Uganda Native Extant Yes      
Uruguay Vagrant Extant        
Western Sahara Native Extant       Yes
Zambia Native Extant        
Zimbabwe Native Extant        

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Chad Lake Chad site factsheet
Ecuador Humedales de Pacoa site factsheet
Ecuador Lagunas de Ecuasal-Salinas site factsheet
Gambia Allahein to Kartung coast site factsheet
Gambia Tanbi wetland complex site factsheet
Guinea-Bissau Arquipélago dos Bijagós site factsheet
Kenya Lake Nakuru National Park site factsheet
Malawi Lake Chilwa and flood-plain site factsheet
Mali Lac Débo - Lac Oualado Débo site factsheet
Mali Lac Faguibine site factsheet
Mauritania Aftout es Sâheli site factsheet
Senegal Delta du Saloum site factsheet
Senegal Guembeul Avifaunal Reserve and St Louis lagoons site factsheet
Senegal Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie site factsheet
South Africa Lake St Lucia and Mkuze Swamps site factsheet
Tanzania Lake Eyasi site factsheet
Uganda Lutembe Bay site factsheet
Uganda Musambwa islands site factsheet
Zambia Barotse Floodplains site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Salt Exploitation Sites suitable breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Rural Gardens suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Sand Dunes marginal breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands major breeding
Marine Intertidal Rocky Shoreline suitable non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc suitable non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches suitable non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Tidepools suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes and Flats suitable breeding
Altitude 0 - 1000 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases / Avian Botulism (Clostridium botulinum) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Rapid Declines Low Impact: 4
Species mortality


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food (human) Whole Eggs Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent
Medicine Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Larus cirrocephalus. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Laridae (Gulls, Terns, Skimmers)
Species name author Vieillot, 1818
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 6,410,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change