Larus ichthyaetus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Charadriiformes Laridae

Scientific Name: Larus ichthyaetus Pallas, 1773
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Pallas's Gull, Great Black-headed Gull
French Goéland ichthyaète
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 appears to be increasing and as such it is not believed 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 breeds in a few very small, scattered localities from the Black Sea (Crimea, Ukraine), east to Lake Balkhash (Kazakhstan) and spottily to north-west Mongolia, possibly also in northern China (Gansu and Qinghai) and Tibet. It wingers on the coasts of the eastern Mediterranean, Red Sea, Gulf of Persia, south Capsian Sea and north Indian Ocean to Myanmar (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Bhutan; China; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Georgia; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Mongolia; Myanmar; Nepal; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation (Central Asian Russia, Eastern Asian Russia, European Russia); Saudi Arabia; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Thailand; Turkey; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; Uzbekistan; Yemen
Regionally extinct:
Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Bulgaria; Cyprus; Denmark; France; Greece; Hong Kong; Hungary; Italy; Japan; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Latvia; Lebanon; Maldives; Malta; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Somalia; Sweden; Tunisia; Uganda; United Kingdom
Present - origin uncertain:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:4450000
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 global population is estimated at 125,000-1,100,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). The European population is estimated at 25,100-28,300 pairs, which equates to 50,100-56,500 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend Justification:  The overall population trend is increasing, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2015). The European population trend is fluctuating (BirdLife International 2015).
Current Population Trend:Increasing
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 This species is fully migratory, although many immatures over-summer in the winter range (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998, Olsen and Larsson 2003). The species begins to arrive in its breeding grounds from early-May; breeding from early-April in large colonies, usually of more than 10 pairs (often 150-300 [Snow and Perrins 1998] or exceptionally up to 3,000 pairs [del Hoyo et al. 1996]) sometimes near, but not with, Larus argentatus (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998). It may also breed in single pairs, but never nests solitarily (it will always nest within a colony of other gull species) (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998). Outside of the breeding season the species usually remains solitary or in small parties of 2-3 individuals (Urban et al. 1986), although it may roost gregariously, and will aggregate into large groups where fish are abundant (Snow and Perrins 1998). Habitat Breeding The species breeds on barren islands or islets in fresh and saline lakes, on inland seas in warm arid steppe, on rivers and river deltas where ample surface water is available, and on suitable mountain lakes up to 1,700 m (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998, Olsen and Larsson 2003). It nests in reedbeds, in shrubby vegetation or on bare flat surfaces (Snow and Perrins 1998). Non-breeding After breeding the species shifts to fish-rich sea-coasts (Snow and Perrins 1998, Olsen and Larsson 2003), wintering on beaches and in harbours (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998, Olsen and Larsson 2003). During this season it may also occur inland on beaches (Urban et al. 1986) of major rivers, lakes and reservoirs, or at fish ponds and refuse dumps (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998, Olsen and Larsson 2003). Diet The species is omnivorous although its diet is dominated by animal material (Snow and Perrins 1998). It chiefly feeds on fish (particularly dead fish), crustaceans, insects and small mammals, less often taking birds and their eggs, reptiles, and seeds (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998). It often flies long distances from colonies in the breeding season to feed aerially on swarms of insects (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998), follows fishing boats and scavenges in harbours (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow depression positioned in the open on bare rock, among reeds or scrub vegetation (Snow and Perrins 1998), or on vegetated sand-dunes (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):12.4
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by increasing predation from Larus cachinnans in its breeding range, and by nest predation by mammals (e.g. wild boar Sus scrofa) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It is also still persecuted in some regions due to its depredation on commercial fish, and colonies are often subject to flooding following storms (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species is susceptible to avian influenza, so may be threatened by future outbreaks of this disease (Melville and Shortridge 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The following information refers to the species's European range only: Listed on Appendix II of the Convention for Migratory Species and listed under the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement. It is listed in 13 Important Bird Areas, in Russia and in the Ukraine. 

Conservation Actions Proposed
The following information refers to the species's European range only: Identification of Important Bird Areas for this species, and subsequent protection and management of sites.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Larus ichthyaetus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22694379A86701276. . Downloaded on 21 July 2018.
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