Larus marinus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Charadriiformes Laridae

Scientific Name: Larus marinus Linnaeus, 1758
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Great Black-backed Gull, Greater Black-backed Gull
French Goéland marin
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Ekstrom, J., Malpas, L.
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 is unclear however the species is not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not 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.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species can be found breeding on coasts from the extreme north-west of Russia, along Scandinavia, on Baltic Sea coasts, on the coasts of north-western France, the United Kingdom and Ireland, across the north Atlantic in Iceland and southern Greenland and on the Atlantic coasts of Canada and the U.S.A. down to North Carolina. Individuals breeding in harsher environments will migrate south, wintering on northern coasts of Europe from the Baltic Sea to southern Portugal, and down North America as far south as the Caribbean (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Countries occurrence:
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Austria; Barbados; Belgium; Belize; Bermuda; Bulgaria; Canada; Cuba; Czech Republic; Denmark; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Estonia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Greenland; Guadeloupe; Haiti; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Lebanon; Lithuania; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Martinique; Montserrat; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Puerto Rico; Romania; Russian Federation (European Russia); Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Slovakia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; United Kingdom; United States
Algeria; Aruba; Bahamas; Belarus; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Croatia; Curaçao; Cyprus; Egypt; Hungary; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Israel; Kazakhstan; Luxembourg; Mauritania; Montenegro; Morocco; Serbia; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Slovenia; Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, U.S.
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:27900000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The European population is estimated at 118,000-133,000 pairs, which equates to 237,000-266,000 mature individuals or 360,000-400,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Combining this new European population estimate with that given for the north-west Atlantic population in Wetlands International (2015) gives a global estimate of 690,000-940,000 individuals. It is therefore placed in the band 500,000-999,999 individuals.

Trend Justification:  The overall population trend is unclear as some populations are increasing (Wetlands International 2015) however the European population is estimated to be decreasing by less than 25% in 36 years (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015). This species has had stable population trends over the last 40 years in North America (data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Behaviour The migratory movements of this species vary throughout its range, with high Arctic breeders migrating south for the winter but southern breeders only dispersing short distances (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The breeding season starts from early-April or mid-May with the species nesting in solitary pairs amidst colonies of other species or in small mixed-species colonies (del Hoyo et al. 1996) of up to 50-100 individuals (Richards 1990) (e.g. with Herring Gull Larus argentatus) (del Hoyo et al. 1996) in favourable locations (Richards 1990). The autumn migration occurs between July and November (peaking October-November) and the return migration to the breeding grounds occurs between March and April (Olsen and Larsson 2003). Outside of the breeding season the species is largely gregarious (Olsen and Larsson 2003). Habitat The species inhabits rocky or sandy coasts, estuaries and inshore and offshore waters, breeding on vegetated islands, dunes, flat-topped stacks, rocky shores (del Hoyo et al. 1996), flat beaches (Snow and Perrins 1998) and islands in saltmarsh (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species may also breed on undisturbed inland sites including islets in large freshwater lakes and rivers (Snow and Perrins 1998), fields and open moorland (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet The species is omnivorous and opportunistic, its diet consisting of fish, adult and young birds, birds eggs, mammals (e.g. rabbits, lemmings, rats and mice), insects, marine invertebrates (e.g. molluscs), carrion and refuse (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow cup constructed from grass, moss and seaweed and is positioned on sand, grass or bare rock substrates on vegetated islands, rocky ridges and outcrops, dunes (del Hoyo et al. 1996), flat beaches (Snow and Perrins 1998) and islands in saltmarsh among scrub (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species may also nest in undisturbed inland sites such as islets in large freshwater lakes and rivers (Snow and Perrins 1998), fields and open moorland (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Management information The breeding densities of this species in the Baltic Sea were unaffected by the removal of the introduced nest predator American mink Neovison vison from small offshore breeding islands (Nordstrom et al. 2003). The species is considered to be a threat to other bird species due to its predatory and opportunistic diet (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Systems:Terrestrial; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):12
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is hunted for sport in Denmark (Bregnballe et al. 2006). Within its European range it is vulnerable to collision with offshore wind farms (Bradbury et al. 2014). It is also vulnerable to being caught as bycatch in fishing gears, including longlines, trawls and gillnets (Anderson et al. 2011, Žydelis et al. 2013). It is vulnerable to coastal oil spills and other types of surface water pollution.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The following information refers to the species's European range only: The species is covered under the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement. In the EU it is listed under Annex II of the Birds Directive. There are 54 Important Bird Areas within Europe for this species. Within the EU there are 111 Special Protection Areas which include this species. 

Conservation Actions Proposed
The following information refers to the species's European range only: Continued monitoring of numbers hunted. On board observer programmes on fishing vessels to monitor bycatch rates, and appropriate mitigation measures implemented where necessary.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Larus marinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22694324A86733265. . Downloaded on 21 April 2018.
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