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Larus leucophthalmus 

Scope: Global
Language: English
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Charadriiformes Laridae

Scientific Name: Larus leucophthalmus Temminck, 1825
Common Name(s):
English White-eyed Gull
French Goéland à iris blanc
Spanish Gaviota ojiblanca
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Identification information: 41 cm. A rather dark gull with black head in adult plumage. Adult has grey back, complete black hood with an almost continuous white eye ring and rather long, dark red bill. Juvenile is brown above with a brownish wash on head, breast and flanks; the bill is black and there is a black tail band. All ages have a dark underwing. Similar spp. Told from Sooty Gull Larus hemprichii by slightly smaller size, and, in adult plumage, all-black hood and bib, dark grey upperparts, all-dark bill (dark red with black tip, unlike two-tone bill of Sooty Gull) and conspicuous white eye-ring. Hints Often associates with Sooty and other gulls around fishing ports on the Red Sea.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Baha El Din, S., Grieve, A. & Habib, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Evans, M., Moreno, R., O'Brien, A., Pilgrim, J., Shutes, S., Starkey, M., Taylor, J.
Justification:
This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is expected to experience a moderately rapid population decline in the next three generations (33 years) owing to a number of threats including introduced predators, oil-spills, the harvest of eggs and chicks and disturbance. If the population was found to be declining more rapidly, the species might qualify for a higher threat category.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Larus leucophthalmus breeds colonially on inshore islands and islets in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, in Egypt ( 2672 pairs [M. Habib in press. 2016], mainly on islands at the mouth of the Gulf of Suez [Baha El Din 1999]), Sudan (300-1,000 pairs [PERSGA/GEF 2003]), Eritrea (1,400 adults in the Dahlak Archipelago in 1962), Djibouti (600-700 pairs [PERSGA/GEF 2003]), Saudi Arabia (more than 1,500 pairs [PERSGA/GEF 2003]), Yemen (at least 3,900 pairs [PERSGA/GEF 2003]) and Somalia (1,200-2,200 pairs [PERSGA/GEF 2003]), with wintering birds dispersing throughout the breeding range. The total population is estimated as 12,000-13,000 breeding pairs (36,000-39,000 individuals) (PERSGA/GEF 2003), excluding Eritrea, equating to 37,000-44,000 individuals overall (PERSGA/GEF 2003); it is believed to be stable (Rose and Scott 1997).

Countries occurrence:
Native:
Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Israel; Jordan; Saudi Arabia; Somalia; Sudan; Yemen
Regionally extinct:
Kenya
Vagrant:
Greece; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Maldives; Oman; Turkey; United Arab Emirates
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:1400Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:403000
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:PERSGA/GEF (2003) estimated 12,000-13,000 breeding pairs (36,000-39,000 individuals), excluding Eritrea, equating to 37,000-44,000 individuals overall.

Trend Justification:  The population is believed to be stable (Rose and Scott 1997).

Current Population Trend:Stable
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 mostly sedentary (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), although it disperses from its breeding sites to occur throughout the Red Sea during the non-breeding season (Olsen and Larsson 2004). There may also be some southward and eastward movement during this time, when it is reported to become scarce in the northern part of its range (Urban et al. 1986). Breeding takes place during the months of June - August, extending to September in Egypt (Urban et al. 1986). It breeds in loose colonies, usually consisting of fewer than 25 pairs, though occasionally larger colonies of hundreds of individuals are known to occur (del Hoyo et al. 1996). During the non-breeding season it is usually found in small groups, but sometimes forms flocks of hundreds or even thousands to forage (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat The species is mainly coastal. It usually feeds at sea (PERSGA/GEF 2003), but some Egyptian populations have adopted a scavenging role at rubbish tips, harbours and touristic area along Egyptian Red Sea Cost (S. Baha El Din verbally to A. Grieve 1999, M. Mohamed in litt. 2016). Breeding It breeds on inshore islands, where it occupies bare rock and sand flats (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding Outside the breeding season it often occurs further out to sea (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It roosts on rocks, coral reefs, piers and fishing vessels (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet The diet consists largely of fish, but also includes crustaceans, molluscs, annelids and offal (del Hoyo et al. 1996, PERSGA/GEF 2003). Fish species taken in Egypt include Scarpus species about 110mm in length (Urban et al. 1986). It also feeds on fruits and plants such as Nitraria retusa (Urban et al. 1986), and is known to predate the eggs and nestlings of the Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis (Urban et al. 1986). It scavenges in the northern part of its range, feeding on all types of food (i.e. meat ,rice, bread, water melon and flying insect [Habib in press. 2016]), but to a lesser extent than does L. hemprichii with which it often associates (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding Site Nests occur on bare rock, sand or exposed flats (del Hoyo et al. 1996). On sandy substrates the nest consists of a conspicuous ring of twigs, seaweed and debris (Urban et al. 1986). On rocky islands it consists of a small pad of vegetable matter beside rocks (Urban et al. 1986). It may alternatively consist of a scrape among impenetrable Euphorbia clumps (Urban et al. 1986). It lays two or three eggs (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Systems:Terrestrial; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):11
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are a variety of potential threats, against which it is not secure. It is permanently at serious risk from introduced predators on the breeding islands (e.g. rats) and from floating and beached oil-spills (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and is also under pressure from egg- and chick-collecting (especially in Somalia [Ash and Miskell 1998, PERSGA/GEF 2003]), disturbance by fishermen and tourists (and related building) and oil exploration (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It is known to be affected by West Nile virus (Rappole and Hubálek 2003). 

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix I and II.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor population trends. Control the harvest of eggs and chicks. Prevent the introduction of mammalian predators to breeding colonies and control them where this has taken place. Enforce measures to prevent and mitigate oil-spills. Enforce measures to control disturbance. Ensure the majority of breeding colonies are protected.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.1. Marine Neritic - Pelagic
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.2. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.3. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.4. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.5. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy-Mud
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.7. Marine Neritic - Macroalgal/Kelp
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.9. Marine Neritic - Seagrass (Submerged)
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
12. Marine Intertidal -> 12.1. Marine Intertidal - Rocky Shoreline
suitability:Suitable season:breeding major importance:Yes
12. Marine Intertidal -> 12.2. Marine Intertidal - Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc
suitability:Suitable season:breeding major importance:Yes
12. Marine Intertidal -> 12.3. Marine Intertidal - Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
12. Marine Intertidal -> 12.6. Marine Intertidal - Tidepools
suitability:Suitable season:breeding major importance:Yes
13. Marine Coastal/Supratidal -> 13.1. Marine Coastal/Supratidal - Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands
suitability:Suitable season:breeding major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.2. Invasive/problematic species control
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.1. International level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:Yes
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.3. Tourism & recreation areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

3. Energy production & mining -> 3.2. Mining & quarrying
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.7. Reduced reproductive success

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.1. Recreational activities
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.3. Work & other activities
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Negligible declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.1. Unspecified species
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.7. Reduced reproductive success

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.2. Named species
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.7. Reduced reproductive success

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.5. Viral/prion-induced diseases -> 8.5.2. Named species
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

9. Pollution -> 9.2. Industrial & military effluents -> 9.2.1. Oil spills
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Negligible declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Ash, J. S.; Miskell, J. E. 1998. Birds of Somalia. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, U.K.

Baha El Din, S. M. 1999. Directory of Important Bird Areas in Egypt. BirdLife International, Cairo.

del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., and Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Habib, M.I. In press. Breeding status of White-eyed Gull on islands in the Egyptian Red Sea, with observations on breeding and feeding behavior . Dutch birding .

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 07 December 2016).

Olsen, K. M.; Larsson, H. 2004. Gulls of Europe, Asia and North America. Christopher Helm, London.

PERSGA/GEF. 2003. Status of breeding seabirds in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. PERSGA, Jeddah.

Rappole, J. H., Hubálek, Z. 2003. Migratory birds and West Nile virus . Journal of Applied Microbiology 94(S): 47S-58S.

Rose, P. M.; Scott, D. A. 1997. Waterfowl population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, Netherlands.

Urban, E.K., Fry, C.H. and Keith, S. 1986. The Birds of Africa, Volume II. Academic Press, London.


Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Larus leucophthalmus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22694299A95219232. . Downloaded on 19 November 2017.
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