Larus delawarensis - Ord, 1815
Ring-billed Gull
Other Common Names: Gaivota-de-Bico-Manchado
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Larus delawarensis Ord, 1815 (TSN 176830)
French Common Names: goéland à bec cerclé
Spanish Common Names: Gaviota Pico Anillado
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100423
Element Code: ABNNM03100
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
Image 10718

© Dick Cannings

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Charadriiformes Laridae Larus
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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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 delawarensis
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 09Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 27Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5N,N5M (02Jan2018)

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 Alabama (S5N), Alaska (S3N), Arizona (S5N), Arkansas (S4N), California (SNRB,SNRN), Colorado (SHB), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (S2S4N), Florida (SNRN), Georgia (S5), Hawaii (SNA), Idaho (S2B,S2N), Illinois (S2), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (S5N), Kansas (S4N), Kentucky (S5N), Louisiana (S5N), Maine (S2B,S5N), Maryland (S5N), Massachusetts (S1B,S5N), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (S4N), Missouri (SNRN), Montana (S5B), Navajo Nation (S3N), Nebraska (SNRN), Nevada (S5B), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (S5N), New Mexico (S5N), New York (S4), North Carolina (S5N), North Dakota (SNRB), Ohio (S3), Oklahoma (S5N), Oregon (S5), Pennsylvania (S5N), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNRN), South Dakota (S4B,S4N), Tennessee (S5N), Texas (S5), Utah (S4N), Vermont (S1B,S5N), Virginia (SNRN), Washington (S5B,S5N), West Virginia (S4N), Wisconsin (S4B), Wyoming (S2)
Canada Alberta (S5B), British Columbia (S4?B), Labrador (S3B,SUM), Manitoba (S5B), New Brunswick (S3S4B,S5M), Newfoundland Island (S4B,SUM), Northwest Territories (S4B), Nova Scotia (SUB,S5N), Nunavut (SUB,SUM), Ontario (S5B,S4N), Prince Edward Island (S1B,S5M), Quebec (S5), Saskatchewan (S5B,S5M)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: BREEDING: Washington to Manitoba, south to northeastern California, Colorado, South Dakota; north-central Ontario to Newfoundland, south to eastern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northern New England and New Brunswick. Nonbreeders occur in summer north to central Alaska, southern Yukon, southern Mackenzie, and southeastern Keewatin, and south through wintering range. NON-BREEDING: coast from southern British Columbia to southern Mexico, rarely south to Costa Rica and Panama; southeastern Canada to Gulf coast, Bahamas, and Greater Antilles; interior from Great Lakes to central Mexico; frequently in low numbers in Hawaii. See Spendelow and Patton (1988) for information on distribution and abundance in coastal U.S., including the Great Lakes region.

Short-term Trend Comments: Populations have increased greatly in the Great Lakes and upper St. Lawrence River areas since the early 1970s. See Smith (1986), Blokpoel and Tessier (1986), Blokpoel and Struger (1988), Blokpoel (in Hyslop and Kennedy 1992).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: BREEDING: Washington to Manitoba, south to northeastern California, Colorado, South Dakota; north-central Ontario to Newfoundland, south to eastern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northern New England and New Brunswick. Nonbreeders occur in summer north to central Alaska, southern Yukon, southern Mackenzie, and southeastern Keewatin, and south through wintering range. NON-BREEDING: coast from southern British Columbia to southern Mexico, rarely south to Costa Rica and Panama; southeastern Canada to Gulf coast, Bahamas, and Greater Antilles; interior from Great Lakes to central Mexico; frequently in low numbers in Hawaii. See Spendelow and Patton (1988) for information on distribution and abundance in coastal U.S., including the Great Lakes region.

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 AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK

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; WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Ada (16001), Adams (16003), Bannock (16005), Bear Lake (16007), Benewah (16009), Bingham (16011), Blaine (16013), Boise (16015), Bonner (16017), Bonneville (16019), Boundary (16021), Butte (16023), Camas (16025), Canyon (16027), Caribou (16029), Cassia (16031), Clark (16033), Clearwater (16035), Custer (16037), Elmore (16039), Franklin (16041), Fremont (16043), Gem (16045), Gooding (16047), Idaho (16049), Jefferson (16051), Jerome (16053), Kootenai (16055), Latah (16057), Lewis (16061), Madison (16065), Minidoka (16067), Nez Perce (16069), Oneida (16071), Owyhee (16073), Payette (16075), Power (16077), Shoshone (16079), Teton (16081), Twin Falls (16083), Valley (16085), Washington (16087)
WY Albany (56001), Big Horn (56003)*, Campbell (56005), Carbon (56007), Converse (56009), Crook (56011), Fremont (56013), Goshen (56015), Hot Springs (56017), Johnson (56019), Laramie (56021), Lincoln (56023), Natrona (56025), Park (56029), Platte (56031), Sweetwater (56037), Teton (56039), Uinta (56041), Weston (56045)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Yellowstone Headwaters (10070001)+, Clarks Fork Yellowstone (10070006)+, Popo Agie (10080003)+, Lower Wind (10080005)+, Badwater (10080006)+, Upper Bighorn (10080007)+, Big Horn Lake (10080010)+*, Dry (10080011)+, Shoshone (10080014)+, Clear (10090206)+, Little Powder (10090208)+, Upper Belle Fourche (10120201)+, Redwater (10120203)+, Upper North Platte (10180002)+, Pathfinder-Seminoe Reservoirs (10180003)+, Medicine Bow (10180004)+, Little Medicine Bow (10180005)+, Sweetwater (10180006)+, Middle North Platte-Casper (10180007)+, Glendo Reservoir (10180008)+, Middle North Platte-Scotts Bluff (10180009)+, Upper Laramie (10180010)+, Lower Laramie (10180011)+, Horse (10180012)+, Crow (10190009)+, Upper Lodgepole (10190015)+
14 Upper Green (14040101)+, Upper Green-Slate (14040103)+, Big Sandy (14040104)+, Bitter (14040105)+, Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir (14040106)+, Blacks Fork (14040107)+, Muddy (14040108)+, Vermilion (14040109)+, Great Divide closed basin (14040200)+, Little Snake (14050003)+
16 Upper Bear (16010101)+, Bear Lake (16010201)+, Middle Bear (16010202)+, Little Bear-Logan (16010203)+, Lower Bear-Malad (16010204)+, Curlew Valley (16020309)+
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Lower Clark Fork (17010213)+, Pend Oreille Lake (17010214)+, Priest (17010215)+, Pend Oreille (17010216)+, South Fork Coeur D'alene (17010302)+, Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303)+, St. Joe (17010304)+, Upper Spokane (17010305)+, Hangman (17010306)+, Snake headwaters (17040101)+, Gros Ventre (17040102)+, Greys-Hobock (17040103)+, Palisades (17040104)+, Salt (17040105)+, Idaho Falls (17040201)+, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, Lower Henrys (17040203)+, Teton (17040204)+, Willow (17040205)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Blackfoot (17040207)+, Portneuf (17040208)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, Raft (17040210)+, Upper Snake-Rock (17040212)+, Beaver-Camas (17040214)+, Medicine Lodge (17040215)+, Big Lost (17040218)+, Big Wood (17040219)+, Camas (17040220)+, Little Wood (17040221)+, C. J. Idaho (17050101)+, Bruneau (17050102)+, Middle Snake-Succor (17050103)+, Upper Owyhee (17050104)+, Jordan (17050108)+, Boise-Mores (17050112)+, South Fork Boise (17050113)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Middle Snake-Payette (17050115)+, Payette (17050122)+, North Fork Payette (17050123)+, Weiser (17050124)+, Brownlee Reservoir (17050201)+, Hells Canyon (17060101)+, Lower Snake-Asotin (17060103)+, Lower Snake-Tucannon (17060107)+, Palouse (17060108)+, Upper Salmon (17060201)+, Pahsimeroi (17060202)+, Upper Middle Fork Salmon (17060205)+, Lower Salmon (17060209)+, Lower Selway (17060302)+, Clearwater (17060306)+, Upper North Fork Clearwater (17060307)+, Lower North Fork Clearwater (17060308)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Eggs are laid in May-June. Clutch size usually is 3. Incubation, by both sexes, lasts about 21 days. Young are tended by both parents, fed until able to fly. Usually attains adult plumage in 3 years. May form female-female pairs or polygynous trios.
Ecology Comments: Fox predation may result in reproductive failure of local breeding colonies (Southern et al. 1985). May prevent terns from nesting by usurping habitat. Breeding individuals foraged an average of 11 km from colony (Baird 1977).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Arrives in northern breeding areas April-May (Bent 1921). Nonbreeders widespread in summer, from Alaska and northern Canada south through wintering range (AOU 1983). Some, mostly first- or second-year birds, reach Central America, mainly early November-late May (Stiles and Skutch 1989).
Marine Habitat(s): Near shore
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river, Tidal flat/shore
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian, TEMPORARY POOL
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Sand/dune, Suburban/orchard, Urban/edificarian
Habitat Comments: Seacoasts, bays, estuaries, rivers, lakes, ponds, irrigated fields and plowed lands, cities, dumps. Nests rocky, sandy, and grassy islets or isolated shores, occasionally on marshy lands, often with other water birds; mainly at inland lakes. Nests usually placed in low vegetation. See Spendelow and Patton (1988) for additional information.
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Feeds opportunistically on various animals and plant material (and garbage), usually obtained from land or water surface; sometimes catches flying insects and pulls fruits from shrubs and trees.
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 45 centimeters
Weight: 566 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Becoming a potentially serious agricultural and urban-suburban nuisance species. Sometimes a hazard to aircraft near airports.
Management Summary
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Management Requirements: See Smith (1986) and Blokpoel and Tessier (1986) for useful overview and annotated bibliography pertaining to management. See Griffin and Hoopes (1992) for gull management recommendations for JFK International Airport in New York. The need in some areas for gull control has been debated (see Morris and Siderius 1990).

Two applications of light-grade commercial petroleum oil to gull eggs reduced hatchability to zero; adults continued to incubate the eggs for more than 6 weeks beyond the expected hatching time and did not renest that year (Morris and Siderius 1990); similar results using nontoxic white mineral oil were reported by Blokpoel and Hamilton (1990) and Christens and Blokpoel (1991).

Monitoring Requirements: See Kinkel (1989) for information on lasting detrimental effects of wing tags.
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
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 21Apr1988
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
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  • Imhof, T. A. 1976. Alabama birds. Second edition. Univ. Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa. 445 pp.

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