Global population and conservation status of the Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus

Samuel Langlois Lopez, Alexander L. Bond, Nina J. O’Hanlon, Jared M. Wilson, Andrew Vitz, Carolyn S. Mostello, Frederick Hamilton, Jean-François Rail, Linda Welch, Ruth Boettcher, Sabina I. Wilhelm, Tycho Anker-Nilssen, Francis Daunt, Elizabeth Masden

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The Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus is a generalist species that inhabits temperate and arctic coasts of the north Atlantic Ocean. In recent years, there has been growing concern about population declines at local and regional scales; however, there has been no attempt to robustly assess Great Black-backed Gull population trends across its global range. We obtained the most recent population counts across the species’ range and analysed population trends at a global, continental, and national scale over the most recent three-generation period (1985–2021) following IUCN Red List criteria. We found that, globally, the species has declined by 43%–48% over this period (1.2–1.3% per annum, respectively), from an estimated 291,000 breeding pairs to 152,000–165,000 breeding pairs under two different scenarios. North American populations declined more steeply than European ones (68% and 28%, respectively). We recommend that Great Black-backed Gull should be uplisted from ‘Least Concern’ to ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species under criterion A2 (an estimated reduction in
population size >30% over three generations)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBird Conservation International
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2022


  • Larus gulls
  • Gull populations
  • Population assessment
  • Population ecology
  • Bird conservation


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