Larus cachinnans


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Larus cachinnans
Species Authority: Pallas, 1811
Common Name(s):
English Caspian Gull
Taxonomic Notes: 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).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2014-07-24
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): 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 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.

2012 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Larus cachinnans can be found in eastern Europe, the Middle East, north-west Africa and central Asia. It is resident in much of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. It also seasonally breeds from the Black Sea, across the north of the Caspian Sea to eastern Kazakhstan, and on the central Asian steppes. Wintering grounds include the coast of south-west Asia (breeders from the steppes), the north-west coast of Africa, and around the Arabian Peninsula up to north-west India.

Afghanistan; Albania; Armenia (Armenia); Azerbaijan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; China; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Georgia; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia; Somalia; Syrian Arab Republic; Turkey; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; Yemen
Bahrain; Maldives; Nepal; Sri Lanka
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Global population size is unknown owing to recent taxonomic splits.

For further information about this species, see 22735929_larus_cachinnans.pdf.
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Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: 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).

Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): 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).

Citation: BirdLife International 2014. Larus cachinnans. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 31 August 2015.
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