This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: #http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _the_WP15.xls#.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
L. michahellis and L. armenicus (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as L. michahellis following a review by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group. Prior to that, L. armenicus had been split and L. cachinnans (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) had been lumped with L. michahellis as L. cachinnans following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.
Behaviour This species is fully migratory, though some colonies aroundthe Black and Caspian Sea may be resident (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Post-breeding movements to wintering areas occur from July to November, with the return migration occurring from mid-February to mid-June (Olsen and Larsson 2003). The species breeds from mid-March to April (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998), although the exact timing varies geographically (Olsen and Larsson 2003). It breeds colonially in groups of up to 8,000 pairs, and may nest in monospecific clusters within mixed-species colonies (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Outside of the breeding season the species remains gregarious, congregating around ports, harbours and refuse dumps (le Grand et al. 1984). Habitat Breeding During the breeding season the species nests near lakes surrounded by reedbeds (Olsen and Larsson 2003) in steppe and semi-desert (Central Asia) (del Hoyo et al. 1996), reservoirs, rivers (de Juana 1984), and on grassy or shrubby river islands (del Hoyo et al. 1996), also forming colonies on sea cliffs (de Juana 1984), rocky and sandy offshore islands, rocky coasts (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998), sandy beaches, spits (del Hoyo et al. 1996), sand-dunes, and salt-pans (Snow and Perrins 1998), and foraging in intertidal zones (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and in brackish coastal marshes (Snow and Perrins 1998). Non-breeding Outside of the breeding season the species is more common along the coast (e.g. at harbours and ports) and in other marine habitats (though seldom far from land). During this season it also forages in cultivated fields (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998, Olsen and Larsson 2003) and along rivers, and is especially common at refuse dumps (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998). Diet Its diet consists of fish, invertebrates (including insects, molluscs (Olsen and Larsson 2003) and crabs (Munilla 1997)), reptiles, small mammals (e.g. voles (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and ground squirrels (Snow and Perrins 1998)), refuse, offal, and bird eggs and chicks (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. of petrels and shearwaters) (le Grand et al. 1984). Breeding site The nest is constructed of nearby vegetation, feathers, debris and old carcasses, and is preferably positioned close to or under bushes (del Hoyo et al. 1996), or on rocky and sandy islands, beaches, spits, sea cliffs, grassy or shrubby river islands (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and occasionally on high ground hundreds of metres from water (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species breeds colonially in monospecific or mixed-species groups, with pairs usually nesting a few metres apart (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
This species is vulnerable to oil pollution (James 1984, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Utilisation The species is hunted for sport in Ukraine (Rudenko 2006).
Bosch, M.; Oro, D.; Cantos, F. J.; Zabala, M. 2000. Short-term effects of culling on the ecology and population dynamics of the Yellow-legged Gull. Journal of Applied Ecology 37: 369-385.
Cooper, D. S. 2003. New distributional and ecological information on birds in south-western Guatemala. Cotinga 19: 61-63.
de Juana, E. 1984. The status and conservation of seabirds in the Spanish Mediterranean. In: Croxall, J. P.; Evans, P. G. H.; Schreiber, R. W. (ed.), Status and conservation of the world's seabirds, pp. 347-361. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.
del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.2). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 13 November 2013).
James, P. C. 1984. The status and conservation of seabirds in the Mediterranean Sea. In: Croxall, J.P.; Evans, P.G.H.; Schreiber, R.W. (ed.), Status and conservation of the world's seabirds, pp. 371-375. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.
Le Grand, G.; Emmerson, K.; Martin, A. 1984. The status and conservation of seabirds in the Macaronesian Islands. In: Croxall, J.P.; Evans, P.G.H.; Schreiber, R.W. (ed.), Status and conservation of the world's seabirds, pp. 377-391. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.
Munilla, I. 1997. Henslows swimming crab (Polybius henslowii) as an important food for yellow-legged gulls (Larus cachinnans) in NW Spain. ICES Journal of Marine Science 54: 631-634.
Olsen, K. M.; Larsson, H. 2004. Gulls of Europe, Asia and North America. Christopher Helm, London.
Rudenko, A. G. 2006. Migration of Pontic Gulls Larus cachinnans form 'ponticus' ringed in the south of Ukraine: a review of recoveries from 1929 to 2003. In: Boere, G.; Galbraith, C., Stroud, D. (ed.), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 553-559. The Stationary Office, Edinburgh, UK.
Snow, D. W.; Perrins, C. M. 1998. The Birds of the Western Palearctic vol. 1: Non-Passerines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Further web sources of information
Detailed regional assessment and species account from the European Red List of Birds (BirdLife International, 2015)
Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Ekstrom, J. & Malpas, L.
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Larus cachinnans. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/08/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/08/2015.
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.
Additional resources for this species
|Current IUCN Red List category||Least Concern|
|Family||Laridae (Gulls, Terns, Skimmers)|
|Species name author||Pallas, 1811|
|Population size||mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||1,580,000 km2|
|Links to further information|
- Additional Information on this species|
- 2015 European Red List assessment