Hydrocoloeus minutus - Pallas, 1776
Little Gull
Synonym(s): Larus minutus Pallas, 1776
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Larus minutus Pallas, 1776 (TSN 176840)
French Common Names: mouette pygmée
Spanish Common Names: Gaviota Mínima
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104598
Element Code: ABNNM03030
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
Image 10807

© Stephen Mirick

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Charadriiformes Laridae Hydrocoloeus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Larus minutus
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly included in Larus but separated on the basis of genetic data (Pons et al., 2005) that indicate that the genus would be paraphyletic if H. minutus were included (AOU, 2008).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 08Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 27Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N1N2B,N2N3N (14Jan1998)
Nation: Canada
National Status: NUB,NUM (07Dec2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Connecticut (SNA), Maine (S1N), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (S1N), Michigan (SNRN), Minnesota (SNRM), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNR), New York (SNRN), North Carolina (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA)
Canada Manitoba (S1S2B), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Nunavut (SUB,SUM), Ontario (S1B), Quebec (S3M)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: BREEDING: locally in North America along Great Lakes in northern Wisconsin, northern Michigan, (Upper Peninsula), and southern Ontario, also in Manitoba and Quebec; and in Eurasia. First started breeding in Ontario in 1962, has expanded range since then to include northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan in mid-1970s, Manitoba in 1981, and Quebec in 1982 (Spendelow and Patton 1988). NON-BREEDING: in North America on Great Lakes, and along Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to Virginia; also in Old World.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: BREEDING: locally in North America along Great Lakes in northern Wisconsin, northern Michigan, (Upper Peninsula), and southern Ontario, also in Manitoba and Quebec; and in Eurasia. First started breeding in Ontario in 1962, has expanded range since then to include northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan in mid-1970s, Manitoba in 1981, and Quebec in 1982 (Spendelow and Patton 1988). NON-BREEDING: in North America on Great Lakes, and along Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to Virginia; also in Old World.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CT, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, VA, VT, WA
Canada MB, NF, NU, ON, QC

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Fremont (16043), Power (16077), Valley (16085)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 Upper Henrys (17040202)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, North Fork Payette (17050123)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Lays clutch of usually 3 eggs, May-June in Ontario. Incubation 20-21 days, by both sexes. Young tended by both parents, fly at 21-24 days.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Marine Habitat(s): Near shore
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, Herbaceous wetland, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river, Tidal flat/shore
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, MEDIUM RIVER
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian, TEMPORARY POOL
Habitat Comments: NON-BREEDING: Seacoasts, bays, estuaries, rivers, lakes, ponds, marshes, and flooded fields (AOU 1983). BREEDING: Nests usually on ground or on floating or emergent plants in marsh. Two pairs at Portage Point (Michigan) nested on small cattail beds and were near but isolated from common tern colony; nests in Wisconsin were in colonies of Forster's or black tern (Spendelow and Patton 1988).
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Forages at water surface for fishes and crustaceans, eats insects caught in flight inland, sometimes feeds at sewer outlets of cities in northeastern U.S. seaboard (Terres 1980).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 28 centimeters
Weight: 120 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Gulls and Terns

Use Class: Adult foraging area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Applies to both adults and juveniles. Evidence of one or more individuals seeking food in suitable habitat. Evidence of prey capture is not a prerequisite, as importance of a given location for foraging may vary temporally with shifting prey.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Scientific basis for assigning foraging separation distances is weak because terns are widespread across the Massachusetts coast and highly mobile. Most gaps in foraging observations likely reflect lack of survey effort.
Date: 10Jan2017
Author: Mostello, C. S.

Use Class: Breeding
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Occurrences include nesting areas and associated nesting-season foraging areas (regardless of how far apart they are), but separation distance pertains to nesting areas (breeding colonies). Thus different breeding occurrences may overlap if birds from different nesting areas forage in the same area. Separation distance is not intended to delineate demographically independent populations or metapopulations (such units would be quite large). Instead, separation distance is a compromise between the high mobility of these birds (see following) and the need for occurrences that are of practical size for conservation/management use.

California Gulls foraged an average of 17.4 kilometers from colony (Baird 1976); maximum foraging distances ranged from 32 to 61 kilometers (Rothweiler 1960, Baird 1976). Ring-billed Gulls foraged an average of 11 km from colony (Baird 1977). Least Terns foraged up to 3-12 kilometers from nests (summarized in Thompson et al. 1997). Forster's Terns has a reported feeding radius of 3.2 kilometers (Van Rossem 1932). Black Terns foraged up to 10 kilometers from nests, over continuous suitable but unoccupied habitat (M. A. Stern, pers. comm. 1998). Caspian terns in a colony at the mouth of the Columbia River: 90% of adults foraged within 21 kilometers (Collis et al. 1999).

Date: 21Jul2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 50 birds in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set such that occurrences are of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences are defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 26Apr2004

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Concentration Area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of wintering flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 20 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set such that occurrences are of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences are defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 16Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.
Notes: Includes all inland-nesting gulls and terns, in the genera LARUS, STERNA, and CHLIDONIAS.

Use Class: Staging
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of flocks resting, roosting, and/or feeding young at a given location prior to breeding or after breeding has been completed. Staging may occur near the breeding site, preceding or following major migratory movements such as oceanic crossings, or it may occur after individuals have departed on migration, but before they have arrived at their final destination (a "stopover"). Staging may occur at sites also used for breeding, but often does not. Staging habitat may be ephemeral. For Common/Roseate Terns in Massachusetts, a minimum of 100 individuals in appropriate habitat is used.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: In Massachusetts, staging areas are separated somewhat arbitrarily, often by jurisdictional or property boundaries, as are nesting areas for coastal birds.
Date: 10Jan2017
Author: Mostello, C. S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
Help
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 24Mar1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1983. Check-list of North American Birds, 6th edition. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 877 pp.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.

  • American Ornithologists' Union. 2010. Check-list of North American Birds [web application], 7th edition. . Accessed 6 August 2010.

  • Aquin, P. 1999. Évaluation de la situation des groupes taxonomiques des oiseaux du Québec. Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Faune. 13 pages.

  • Austen, M.J.W., M.D. Cadman and R.D. James. 1994. Ontario Birds at Risk: Status and Conservation Needs. Federation of Ontario Naturalists, Don Mills, and Long Point Bird Observatory, Port Rowan, Ontario. 165 pp.

  • Austen, M.J.W., M.D. Cadman, and R.D. James. 1994. Ontario birds at risk: status and conservation needs. Federation of Ontario Naturalists and Long Point Bird Observatory. 165 p.

  • B83COM01NAUS - Added from 2005 data exchange with Alberta, Canada.

  • Baillie, J.L. 1963. The 13 most recent Ontario nesting birds. Ontario Field Biologist, 17:15-26.

  • Baird, P. 1976. Comparative ecology of California and Ring-billed Gulls (Larus californicus and L. delawarensis.)Ph.D. dissertation, University of Montana, Missoula.

  • Baird, P. A. 1977. Feeding ecology of ring-billed and California gulls (Larus delawarensis and L. californicus). Pacific Seabird Bulletin 4:16-17.

  • BirdLife International. 2004b. Threatened birds of the world 2004. CD ROM. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.

  • Bull, John. 1974. Birds of New York State. Doubleday, Garden City, New York. 655 pp.

  • Cadman, M.D., P.F.J. Eagles and F.M. Helleiner (eds.) 1987. Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario. Federation of Ontario Naturalists and Long Point Bird Observatory. University of Waterloo Press, Waterloo, Ontario. 617 pp.

  • Desrosiers A., F. Caron et R. Ouellet. 1995. Liste de la faune vertébrée du Québec. Les publications du Québec. 122

  • Gauthier, J., and Y. Aubry (editors). 1996. The breeding birds of Quebec. Atlas of the breeding birds of southern Quebec. Association quebecoise des groupes d'ornithologues, Province of Quebec Society for the Protection of Birds, Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Quebec Region, Montreal, 1302 pp.

  • Godfrey, W. E. 1986. The birds of Canada. Revised edition. National Museum of Natural Sciences, Ottawa. 596 pp. + plates.

  • Harrison, C. 1978. A Field Guide to the Nests, Eggs and Nestlings of North American Birds. Collins, Cleveland, Ohio.

  • Howell, S. N. G., and S. Webb. 1995. A guide to the birds of Mexico and northern Central America. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

  • Johnson, S.R. and W.J. Adams. 1977. The Little Gull (Larus minutus) in Arctic North America. The Canadian Field-Naturalist 91: 294-296.

  • Melville, D. S. 1984. Seabirds of China and the surrounding seas. Pages 501-511 in Croxall et al., eds. Status and conservation of the world's seabirds. ICBP Tech. Pub. No. 2.

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Checklist of the amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals of New York State, including their protective status. Nongame Unit, Wildlife Resources Center, Delmar, NY.

  • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. n.d. Endangered Spaces Candidate Area Reports Wakami Lake. OMNR. 1 p.

  • Ouellet H., M. Gosselin et J.P. Artigau. 1990. Nomenclature française des oiseaux d'Amérique du Nord. Secrétariat d'État du Canada. 457 p.

  • Parker III, T. A., D. F. Stotz, and J. W. Fitzpatrick. 1996. Ecological and distributional databases for neotropical birds. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

  • Peck, G.K. and R.D. James. 1983. The Breeding Birds of Ontario: Nidiology and Distribution. Volume 1: Nonpasserines. Life Sciences Miscellaneous Publication, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario. xii + 321 pp.

  • Pons, J. M., A. Hassanin, and P. A. Crochet. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships within the Laridae (Charadriiformes: Aves) inferred from mitochondrial markers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37:686-699.

  • Poole, A. F. and F. B. Gill. 1992. The birds of North America. The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. and The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Richards, James R. 1973. Little Gull Nestings. Ontario Naturalist, June, 9173:38-41.

  • Ridgely, R. S. 2002. Distribution maps of South American birds. Unpublished.

  • Rothweiler, R. A. 1960. Food habits, movements, and nesting of gulls, Freezout Lake, Teton County, Montana. Montana Fish and Game Department, Helena. Paper No. 494. 26pp.

  • Scott, G.A. 1963. First nesting of the Little Gull (Larus minutus) in Ontario and in the New World. Auk 80: 548-549.

  • Spendelow, J. A. and S. R. Patton. 1988. National Atlas of Coastal Waterbird Colonies in the Contiguous United States: 1976-1982. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Report 88(5). x + 326 pp.

  • Terres, J. K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

  • The American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). Banks, R.C., R.T. Chesser, C. Cicero, J.L. Dunn, A.W. Kratter, I.J. Lovette, P.C. Rasmussen, J.V. Remsen, Jr., J.D. Rising, D.F. Stotz, and K. Winker. 2008. Forty-ninth supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds. The Auk 125(3):758-768.

  • Thompson, B. C., J. A. Jackson, J. Burger, L. A. Hill, E. M. Kirsch, and J. L. Atwood. 1997. Least Tern (Sterna antillarum). In A. Poole and F. Gill, editors, The Birds of North America, No. 290. Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, DC. 32 pp.

  • Tozer, R.G. and J.M. Richards. 1974. Birds of the Oshawa - Lake Scugog Region, Ontario. Alger Press Ltd., Oshawa, Ontario. 384 pp.

  • Van Rossem, A. J. 1933. Terns as destroyers of birds' eggs. Condor 35:49-51.

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Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
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