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Gulls


ORDER : CHARADRIIFORMES

SUBORDER : Lari (gulls and allies)

Note : under the recent reorganisation of the order CHARADRIIFORMES, the suborder Lari also includes the Crab Plover and the Pratincoles and Coursers from the Shorebirds families Dromadidae and Glareolidae, together with Skuas, Auks, Terns and Skimmers.


Family : Laridae, with 56 currently recognised extant species under 11 genera.

Subfamily : Larinae

Previously, most gulls were placed in the large genus Larus. However, following recent research and DNA systematic analysis, the family has been re-categorised resulting in the renaming of 22 species, which are now under the new genera Ichthyaetus, Leuophaeus and Chroicocephalus.

The smallest species is the Little Gull, and the largest the Great Black-backed Gull and then the Glaucous Gull.

About half of the world’s species have been recorded at one time or another in the UK.

The following is a complete systematic listing at genus level with information taken from various sources.

This list is for personal reference, which is why certain species (just 16no) are highlighted – these being the species that I have both seen and photographed.

  • Pacific Gull - Larus pacificus, [2 subspecies]
  • Belcher’s Gull - Larus belcheri, also known as the Band-tailed Gull
  • Olrog’s Gull - Larus atlanticus, previously a subspecies of Larus belcheri
  • Black-tailed Gull - Larus crassirostris
  • Heermann’s Gull - Larus heermanni
  • Common Gull - Larus canus, [4 subspecies] - also known as the Mew Gull, however dependent on source information this can be treated as a separate species - Larus brachyrhynchus [Europe and Western Asia - nominate race Larus canus canus]
  • Ring-billed Gull - Larus delawarensis
  • California Gull - Larus californicus, [2 subspecies]
  • Great Black-backed Gull - Larus marinus
  • Kelp Gull - Larus dominicanus, known as the Southern Black-backed Gull in New Zealand
  • Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus glaucescens
  • Western Gull - Larus occidentalis
  • Yellow-footed Gull - Larus livens
  • Glaucous Gull - Larus hyperboreus, [4 subspecies] [Northern Europe - nominate race Larus hyberboreus hyberoreus, North, Central & East Canada, Greenland and Iceland - Larus hyberboreus leuceretes]
  • Iceland Gull - Larus glaucoides, [2 subspecies if the Kumlien’s Gull is included]
  • Kumlien’s Gull - Larus kumlieni or sometimes considered a subspecies of Larus glaucoides
  • Thayer’s Gull - Larus thayeri
  • European Herring Gull - Larus argentatus, [2 primary subspecies] [Western Europe, including UK and Iceland, but excluding Scandinavia - Larus argentatus argenteus, Scandinavia and Northwest Russia - nominate race Larus argentatus argentatus]
  • American Herring Gull - Larus smithsonianus also known as the Smithsonian Gull in North America where it is usually considered a subspecies of Larus argentatus
  • Caspian Gull - Larus cachinnans previously linked with Larus argentatus, but now separated
  • Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis, [2 subspecies] previously linked with Larus argentatus when it was known as the Yellow-legged Herring Gull, but now separated
  • East Siberian Herring Gull - Larus vegae - also called the Vega Gull, sometimes treated as a subspecies of Larus smithsonianus and/or including the separately named Mongolian Gull - Larus vegae mongolicus
  • Armenian Gull - Larus armenicus, previously linked with Larus argentatus, but now separated
  • Slaty-backed Gull - Larus schistisagus
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull - Larus fuscus, [5 subspecies] [Greenland and Western Europe including UK and Iceland - Larus fuscus graellsii]
  • Heuglin’s Gull - Larus heuglini previously linked with Larus argentatus, but now separated although sometimes considered a subspecies of Larus fuscus, also known as the Siberian Gull
  • White-eyed Gull - Ichthyaetus leucophthalmus
  • Sooty Gull - Ichthyaetus hemprichii
  • Pallas's Gull - Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus, also known as the Great Black-headed Gull
  • Audouin’s Gull - Ichthyaetus audouinii
  • Mediterranean Gull - Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
  • Relict Gull - Ichthyaetus relictus, also known as the Central Asia Gull and previously considered an eastern race of Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
  • Dolphin Gull - Leuophaeus scorebii
  • Laughing Gull - Leuophaeus atricilla, [2 subspecies]
  • Franklin’s Gull - Leuophaeus pipixcan
  • Lava Gull - Leuophaeus fuliginosus, endemic to the Galapagos Islands and the rarest gull in the world.
  • Grey Gull - Leuophaeus modestus
  • Silver Gull - Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae, [3 subspecies]
  • Red-billed Gull - Chroicocephalus scopulinus, [2 subspecies] - also known as the Mackerel Gull
  • Hartlaub’s Gull - Chroicocephalus hartlaubii, also known as the King Gull
  • Brown-hooded Gull - Chroicocephalus maculipennis
  • Grey-headed Gull - Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus, [2 subspecies]
  • Andean Gull - Chroicocephalus serranus
  • Black-billed Gull - Chroicocephalus bulleri, also known as the Buller’s Gull
  • Brown-headed Gull - Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus
  • Black-headed Gull - Chroicocephalus ridibundus
  • Slender-billed Gull - Chroicocephalus genei
  • Bonaparte’s Gull - Chroicocephalus philadelphia
  • Little Gull - Hydrocoloeus minitus
  • Swallow-tailed Gull - Creagrus furcatus
  • Ross’s Gull - currently Rhodostethia rosea, but may move to Hydrocoloeus
  • Ivory Gull - Pagophila eburnea
  • Sabine’s Gull - Xema sabini, also known as the Fork-tailed Gull
  • Saunders’ Gull - Saundersilarus saundersi, also known as the Chinese Black-headed Gull
  • Black-legged Kittiwake - Rissa tridactyla, [2 subspecies] [North Atlantic region - nominate race Rissa tridactyla tridactyla]
  • Red-legged Kittiwake - Rissa brevirostris

Related information : 'understanding bird orders and families' and 'understanding taxonomy listings'


Issue : 3 (June 16) - (originated Dec.15)