Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
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.
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
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/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) 44,500,000 km2
Extent of Occurrence (non-breeding) 123,000,000 km2
Severely fragmented? no -
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Population size unknown poor estimated 2012
Population trend unknown - - -
Generation length 9.6 years - - -

Population justification: The global population has been estimated to number c.4,800,000-8,900,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). The European population is estimated at 1,340,000-1,990,000 pairs, which equates to 2,670,000-3,980,000 mature individuals or 4,000,000-5,970,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Combining the new figures for the European population (BirdLife International 2015) with estimates from the other populations in Wetlands International (2015) provides an overall estimate of 4,400,000-8,200,000 individuals. National population estimates include: > c.1,000 individuals on migration and > c.1,000 wintering individuals in China; c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and > c.1,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan; > c.1,000 individuals on migration and > c.1,000 wintering individuals in Korea; < c.10,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Japan and c.10,000-1 million breeding pairs and > c.1,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification: The overall population trend is unclear. Some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2015). This species has undergone a large and statistically significant increase over the last 40 years in North America (361% increase over 40 years, equating to a 46.6% increase per decade; data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007). Note, however, that these surveys cover less than 50% of the species's range in North America. Between 1990 and 2013 the European population is estimated to have declined moderately (EBCC 2015).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding visitor Non-breeding visitor Passage migrant
Afghanistan extant native yes
Albania extant native yes
Algeria extant native
Angola extant vagrant
Antigua and Barbuda extant native
Armenia extant native yes
Australia extant vagrant
Austria extant native yes
Azerbaijan extant native yes
Bahamas extant vagrant
Bahrain extant native yes yes
Bangladesh extant native
Barbados extant native
Belarus extant native yes
Belgium extant native yes
Benin extant native
Bermuda (to UK) extant native
Bosnia and Herzegovina extant native yes
Botswana extant vagrant
Brunei extant vagrant
Bulgaria extant native yes
Burkina Faso extant native
Burundi extant vagrant
Cambodia extant native
Cameroon extant vagrant
Canada extant native yes
Cape Verde extant native
Chad extant vagrant
China (mainland) extant native yes
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the extant vagrant
Côte d'Ivoire extant native
Croatia extant native yes
Cuba extant vagrant
Cyprus extant native yes
Czechia extant native yes
Denmark extant native yes yes
Djibouti extant native
Dominica extant native
Egypt extant native
Eritrea extant native
Estonia extant native yes
Ethiopia extant native
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) extant native yes
Finland extant native yes yes
France extant native yes yes
French Guiana extant native
Gambia extant native
Georgia extant native yes
Germany extant native yes yes
Ghana extant native
Gibraltar (to UK) extant native yes
Greece extant native yes yes
Greenland (to Denmark) extant native yes
Grenada extant vagrant
Guadeloupe (to France) extant native
Guam (to USA) extant native yes
Guinea extant vagrant
Guinea-Bissau extant native
Hong Kong (China) extant native
Hungary extant native yes yes
Iceland extant native yes
India extant native
Indonesia extant native
Iran, Islamic Republic of extant native yes yes
Iraq extant native yes yes
Ireland extant native yes
Israel extant native yes yes
Italy extant native yes
Japan extant native
Jordan extant native yes yes
Kazakhstan extant native yes
Kenya extant native
Kuwait extant native yes yes
Kyrgyzstan extant native yes
Laos extant native
Latvia extant native yes
Lebanon extant native yes yes
Liberia extant vagrant
Libya extant native
Liechtenstein extant native yes
Lithuania extant native yes
Luxembourg extant native yes
Malaysia extant native
Maldives extant vagrant
Mali extant native
Malta extant native yes
Martinique (to France) extant native
Mauritania extant native
Mexico extant native
Micronesia, Federated States of extant native yes
Moldova extant native yes yes
Monaco extant uncertain
Mongolia extant native yes
Montenegro extant native yes
Montserrat (to UK) extant native
Morocco extant native
Myanmar extant native
Nepal extant native
Netherlands extant native yes
Niger extant native
Nigeria extant native
North Korea extant native
North Macedonia extant native yes
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) extant native yes
Norway extant native yes yes
Oman extant native yes
Pakistan extant native
Palau extant native yes
Palestine extant native yes
Papua New Guinea extant vagrant
Philippines extant native
Poland extant native yes yes
Portugal extant native yes
Puerto Rico (to USA) extant native
Qatar extant native yes
Romania extant native yes yes
Russia extant native yes yes
Russia (Asian) extant native yes
Russia (Central Asian) extant native yes yes
Russia (European) extant native yes yes
Rwanda extant native
Saudi Arabia extant native yes yes
Senegal extant native
Serbia extant native yes
Seychelles extant vagrant
Sierra Leone extant vagrant
Singapore extant native
Slovakia extant native yes yes
Slovenia extant native yes yes
Somalia extant native
South Africa extant vagrant
South Korea extant native
South Sudan extant native yes
Spain extant native yes yes
Sri Lanka extant native
St Kitts and Nevis extant native
St Lucia extant native
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) extant native yes yes
St Vincent and the Grenadines extant native
Sudan extant native
Suriname extant native
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) extant native yes
Sweden extant native yes yes
Switzerland extant native yes
Syria extant native yes yes
Taiwan, China extant native
Tajikistan extant native
Tanzania extant native
Thailand extant native
Togo extant vagrant
Trinidad and Tobago extant native
Tunisia extant native
Türkiye extant native yes
Turkmenistan extant native
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) extant vagrant
Uganda extant native
Ukraine extant native yes yes
United Arab Emirates extant native yes
United Kingdom extant native yes
USA extant native yes
Uzbekistan extant native yes
Vietnam extant native
Virgin Islands (to USA) extant native yes
Western Sahara extant native
Yemen extant native yes yes
Zimbabwe extant vagrant

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Russia (European) Beglitskaya sand-spit
Russia (European) Berezoviye islands of Vyborg Bay
Türkiye Gediz Delta
Israel Lake Kinneret and Kinerot
Israel Carmel coast
Iran, Islamic Republic of South Caspian shore, from Astara to Gomishan
Iran, Islamic Republic of Anzali Mordab complex
Iran, Islamic Republic of Bandar Kiashar lagoon and mouth of Sefid Rud
Iran, Islamic Republic of Miankaleh Peninsula and Gorgan Bay
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lake Alagol, Lake Ulmagol and Lake Ajigol
Iran, Islamic Republic of Shadegan marshes and tidal mudflats of Khor-al Amaya and Khor Musa
Iran, Islamic Republic of Arjan Protected Area
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lake Maharlu
Iran, Islamic Republic of Hamoun-i Sabari and Hamoun-i Hirmand
Iran, Islamic Republic of Khouran Straits
Oman Quriyat - Daghmar
Oman Ras al Hadd
Oman Khawr Hassan
Oman Khawr Shinas and Khawr Liwa
Oman Al Batinah coast
China (mainland) Oasis, Desert and Wetland at Mosuowan
China (mainland) Bosten Lake
Hong Kong (China) Inner Deep Bay and Shenzhen River catchment area
Russia (Asian) Kharchinskoye lake
Russia (Central Asian) Lake Tarutino
Russia (Central Asian) Dvuob'ye
Russia (Central Asian) Tarutino Lake
Russia (Central Asian) Lower Ob'
Kazakhstan Shoshkakol Lakes
Kazakhstan Sorbulak Lake System
Russia (Central Asian) Gor'koye lake near Novotroitskoye village
Russia (European) Sitnikovski Reserve
Russia (Central Asian) Blagoveschenskaya (Kulunda lake and vicinity)
Russia (Central Asian) Lake system near Lotoshnoye village
Canada Quoddy Region
Canada Quidi Vidi Lake
Canada Lagune du Havre aux Basques et plage de l'Ouest
Mongolia Taigam Lake
Bulgaria Maritsa-Plovdiv
Uzbekistan Balykchi Fish Farm
Kazakhstan Kamysh-Samarskie Lakes
Kazakhstan Zhaltyr Lake
Kazakhstan Terenkol Lake
Uzbekistan Khorezm Fish Farm and adjacent lakes
Russia (Central Asian) Upper streams of Ob' river
Türkiye Bosphorus
Kazakhstan Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve
Russia (European) Ptich'ya magistral' area
Germany Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park (includes the Halligs, Kniepsand/Amrum, Lister Koog, Rantumbecken, Rickelsb
Romania Câmpia Crişurilor
Romania Danube Delta
Romania Dunăre - Olteniţa
Romania Lake Dunăreni
Romania Lake Oltina
Romania Buhuşu reservoir - Bacău - Tătărăşti
Romania Black Sea
Romania Olteniţa - Ulmeni
Romania Suhaia
Romania Vedea - Dunăre
China (mainland) Desert and wetland from Northern Urumqi to Dabancheng
China (mainland) Barkol Lake and grassland
China (mainland) Lower reaches of Tarim River
China (mainland) Qiemo Oasis and Qarqan River
China (mainland) Ebi Nur and Kuytun River
China (mainland) Bayanbulak and Kaidu River Valley
China (mainland) Xayar forest and wetland
China (mainland) Aksu River basin
China (mainland) Markit-Yarkant Oasis
China (mainland) Hotan Oasis
Slovenia River Drava
Spain Albufera de Valencia marshes
Russia (European) Utrish Reserve and adjacent coastal waters
Norway Tautra & Svaet
Netherlands Biesbosch
Netherlands Haringvliet
Netherlands Lake IJsselmeer
Netherlands Nieuwkoopse Plassen & De Haeck
Netherlands Oosterschelde
Netherlands Wadden Sea
Russia (Asian) Avachinskaya Bay and Starichkov Island
United Arab Emirates Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary (Khor Dubai)
Serbia Carska bara
Serbia Okanj I Rusanda
Serbia Subotica lakes and sandy terrain
Serbia Usce Save u Dunav

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Artificial/Aquatic - Wastewater Treatment Areas suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas suitable non-breeding
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Sand Dunes 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 Macroalgal/Kelp suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

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 ridibundus. Downloaded from on 30/11/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 30/11/2023.