Arctic Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus


Taxonomic note
Larus argentatus and L. smithsonianus (the latter including vegae and mongolicus) (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as L. argentatus following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

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.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Least Concern
2016 Least Concern
2014 Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency does not normally occur in forest
Land-mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 51,400,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 74,100,000 medium
Severely fragmented? no -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Number of mature individuals poor estimated 2014
Population trend decreasing suspected -
Generation length (years) 13 - - -

Population justification: The population is estimated to number c.430,000-520,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2014).

Trend justification: This species has undergone a small or statistically insignificant decrease over the last 40 years in North America (data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007) and is listed as declining by Wetlands International (2014).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Antigua and Barbuda extant native yes
Aruba (to Netherlands) extant native yes
Bahamas extant native yes
Barbados extant native yes
Belize extant native yes
Bermuda (to UK) extant native yes
Canada extant native yes yes yes yes
Cayman Islands (to UK) extant native yes
China (mainland) extant native yes yes
Colombia extant vagrant
Costa Rica extant native yes
Cuba extant native yes
Dominica extant native yes
Dominican Republic extant native yes
Ecuador extant vagrant
El Salvador extant native yes
Guadeloupe (to France) extant native yes
Guatemala extant native yes
Haiti extant native yes
Honduras extant native yes
Hong Kong (China) extant native yes
Jamaica extant vagrant
Japan extant native yes
Kazakhstan extant vagrant
Martinique (to France) extant native yes
Mexico extant native yes
Mongolia extant native yes
Montserrat (to UK) extant native yes
Nicaragua extant native yes
North Korea extant native yes
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) extant vagrant
Palau extant vagrant
Panama extant native yes
Philippines extant vagrant
Puerto Rico (to USA) extant native yes
Russia extant native yes yes yes
Russia (Asian) extant native yes yes yes
South Korea extant native yes
St Kitts and Nevis extant native yes
St Lucia extant native yes
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) extant native yes
St Vincent and the Grenadines extant native yes
Taiwan, China extant native yes
Thailand extant native yes
Trinidad and Tobago extant native yes
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) extant native yes
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) extant vagrant
USA extant native yes yes yes
Venezuela extant vagrant
Vietnam extant native yes
Virgin Islands (to UK) extant native yes
Virgin Islands (to USA) extant native yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Russia (European) Berezoviye islands of Vyborg Bay
Denmark Northern Kattegat
Denmark Skagerrak-Southwest Norwegian trench
France Archipel de Molène
France Archipel des Glénan
France Estuaire de la Canche
France Cap Gris-nez
France Traicts et marais salants de la Presqu'île Guérandaise
Russia (European) Seskar island
Russia (Asian) Ol'khon area
Russia (Asian) Angara river source
United Kingdom Morecambe Bay
United Kingdom Firth of Forth Islands
United Kingdom Isle of Man Sea Cliffs
United Kingdom Upper Solway Flats and Marshes
Canada Saint-Augustin Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Canada Sable Island, Nova Scotia
Canada Shigawake-Newport
Canada Île aux Pommes
Canada Bonaventure Island
Canada Île Nue de Mingan
Canada Îles Pèlerins
Canada Witless Bay Islands
Canada Wildwood Gull Roost
Canada Corbin Island
Canada Grand Manan Archipelago
Canada La Grosse Boule Island
Canada Niagara River Corridor
Canada Pelee Island Archipelago
Canada Pittock Reservoir
Canada Quidi Vidi Lake
Canada Corossol Island
Germany Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park
Germany Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park (includes the Halligs, Kniepsand/Amrum, Lister Koog, Rantumbecken, Rickelsb
Mongolia Dashinchilen Bayan Lake
Mongolia Erkhel Lake
Mongolia Oigon Lake
USA Gulf of Alaska Shelf Edge 143W60N
Norway Persfjorden - Hamningberg
Norway Varangerfjord (including Hornøya and Reinøya)

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Excavations (open) suitable breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Water Storage Areas (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas suitable breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Rocky Shoreline suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses) suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Tidepools suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) marginal resident
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) marginal resident
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 2000 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Low Impact: 5
Indirect ecosystem effects
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species disturbance, Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Persecution/control Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species disturbance, Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Energy production & mining Renewable energy Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species mortality

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - non-trivial recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - international non-trivial recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Larus smithsonianus. Downloaded from on 26/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/09/2023.