Larus hyperboreus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Larus hyperboreus
Species Authority: Gunnerus, 1767
Common Name(s):
English Glaucous Gull

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Calvert, R., Malpas, L., Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.
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 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.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species breeds in the Arctic regions of the northern hemisphere. Birds breeding in northern Europe and Asia tend to remain near the colony year-round. Breeders in North America migrate south, being found in the North Pacific from California (USA) round to the extreme south-east of Russia, off the western coast of North America down to Virginia, and the Atlantic coast of Europe down to Brittany, France including the United Kingdom and Ireland1.
Belgium; Canada; China; Denmark; Estonia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; Germany; Greenland; Iceland; Ireland; Japan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Latvia; Lithuania; Mexico; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Slovakia; Spain; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Sweden; United Kingdom; United States
Austria; Bermuda; Bulgaria; Czech Republic; Hong Kong; Hungary; Israel; Italy; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Malta; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Portugal; Serbia (Serbia); Slovenia; Switzerland; Tunisia; Ukraine
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is estimated to number c.340,000-2,400,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population sizes have been estimated at > c.1,000 wintering individuals in Japan and c.10,000-1 million breeding pairs and > c.1,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
For further information about this species, see 22694343_larus_hyperboreus.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour Most populations of this species migrate southwards after breeding although some western Palearctic breeders remain on their breeding grounds throughout the year (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species breeds from mid-May to mid-June (the timing depending on latitude and ice conditions) in solitary pairs or small colonies (del Hoyo et al. 1996), departing the breeding grounds from September to mid-October (Olsen and Larsson 2003). Outside of the breeding season the species is gregarious and occurs in small or large flocks, up to tens of thousands gathering where food is temporarily abundant (Snow and Perrins 1998) during the winter (e.g. at fishing harbours) (Olsen and Larsson 2003). Habitat It breeds on sea cliffs and inshore islands (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998), particularly near human settlements and often near colonies of other gulls or geese (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species may also breed on islands in lakes near the coast (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998) or on the edges of coastal lagoons (Snow and Perrins 1998). Throughout the year the species forages over coasts, bays, harbours, inshore waters with sewage outfalls, the intertidal zone, land-fill sites, fishing wharves and large inland lakes (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Its diet consists of fish, molluscs, Echinoderms, crustaceans, rodents, adult and young birds, eggs (especially of ducks, auks and shorebirds), insects, berries and carrion (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a mound of seaweed and debris (del Hoyo et al. 1996) usually placed on the edges of cliffs, rock pinnacles (del Hoyo et al. 1996), rocky outcrops (Snow and Perrins 1998), slopes (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and occasionally on ice or snow (Snow and Perrins 1998).
Systems: Terrestrial; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is threatened by organohalogen pollution in its Arctic breeding range (Bustnes et al. 2004, Verreault et al. 2007) (there is evidence that organohalogen contaminants alter the species's basal metabolic rate (Verreault et al. 2007) and that organochlorines reduce the efficiency of its immune system (Bustnes et al. 2004)). In parts of its breeding range the species is also being displaced by Herring Gull Larus argentatus (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Utilisation First year birds are hunted in Greenland, mainly between August and November (Evans 1984).

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Larus hyperboreus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 03 September 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided