Larus fuscus - Linnaeus, 1758
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Larus fuscus Linnaeus, 1758 (TSN 176821)
French Common Names: goéland brun
Spanish Common Names: Gaviota Sombría
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102581
Element Code: ABNNM03150
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Other Birds
Image 7208

© Larry Master

 
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 fuscus
Taxonomic Comments: Some authors have considered L. argentatus and L. fuscus as conspecific, but they are widely sympatric with only limited hybridization (AOU 1983). Allozyme data indicate a very close overall genetic similarity among L. argentatus, L. cachinnans, L. fuscus, L. glaucoides, L. hyperboreus, and L. marinus (Snell 1991). See Post and Lewis (1995) for a taxonomic overview, including information on subspecies.
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: N2N3N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: NUN,N4N5M (08Jan2018)

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 (SNRN), Connecticut (SNA), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNRN), Kentucky (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (S1N), Minnesota (SNA), New Jersey (S5N), New York (SNRN), North Carolina (S3N), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (S1N), South Carolina (SNA), Texas (SNA), Virginia (SNA)
Canada Labrador (S3S4N,SUM), Newfoundland Island (S3N,SUM), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Quebec (S4M)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: BREEDS: Iceland, Faroe Islands, northern Scandinavia, and northern Russia south to British Isles and France. Nonbreeding individuals often summer in winter range. Evidently now beginning to breed in small numbers in Greenland and North America (Post and Lewis 1995). WINTERS: Old World and in small numbers from Great Lakes and Labrador south to Gulf Coast and Florida. Uncommon but increasing along North American Atlantic coast in migration and winter (Post and Lewis 1995).

Short-term Trend: Increase of >10%
Short-term Trend Comments: See Evans (1984) for status in northwestern Europe (has increased and spread in last hundred years). Populations of both subspecies GRAELLSII and INTERMEDIUS have generally increased in recent years; subspecies FUSCUS has greatly declined throughout its range (Post and Lewis 1995). See Post and Lewis (1995) for a detailed account of the on-going expansion of this species in the New World.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: BREEDS: Iceland, Faroe Islands, northern Scandinavia, and northern Russia south to British Isles and France. Nonbreeding individuals often summer in winter range. Evidently now beginning to breed in small numbers in Greenland and North America (Post and Lewis 1995). WINTERS: Old World and in small numbers from Great Lakes and Labrador south to Gulf Coast and Florida. Uncommon but increasing along North American Atlantic coast in migration and winter (Post and Lewis 1995).

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 AL, CT, FL, GA, KY, MA, MD, MN, NC, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, TX, VA
Canada LB, NF, NS, 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 Ada (16001), Bannock (16005), Benewah (16009), Bingham (16011), Canyon (16027), Gooding (16047), Kootenai (16055), Nez Perce (16069), Owyhee (16073), Power (16077)
WY Albany (56001)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Upper Laramie (10180010)+
17 Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303)+, St. Joe (17010304)+, Upper Spokane (17010305)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Portneuf (17040208)+, Upper Snake-Rock (17040212)+, C. J. Idaho (17050101)+, Middle Snake-Succor (17050103)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Clearwater (17060306)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: See Post and Lewis (1995) for information on identification of subspecies.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: See Post and Lewis (1995) for detailed information on migrations.
Marine Habitat(s): Near shore
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river, Tidal flat/shore
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Sand/dune, Tundra
Habitat Comments: Coastal regions, bays, estuaries, and inland on lakes and rivers (AOU 1983); also garbage dumps, tidal flats, sewer outlets, beaches, and sometimes in plowed fields with other gulls (herring, great black-backed) (Terres 1980). Nests on tundra, along sandy and rocky coasts, and on islands in lakes and larger rivers (AOU 1983).
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Searches in sea, on land and beaches, and in estuaries for small fishes, crustaceans, mollusks, earthworms, and echinoderms (Terres 1980).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 53 centimeters
Weight: 880 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Help
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Colonial Seabirds

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Breeding Colony
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.
Mapping Guidance: Map foraging areas as separate polygons if they are separated from the breeding colony by areas simply flown over on commuting routes.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: Where colonies are closer than 5 kilometers, separate occurrences may be created if research shows little genetic mixing between colonies.
Separation Justification: Occurrences include nesting and foraging areas, but occurrence separations are based on nesting areas (i.e., distance between nesting areas, regardless of foraging locations). Hence, different occurrences may overlap.

Occurrences are not based on discrete populations or metapopulations. Instead, the separation distance is arbitrarily small such that occurrences are of of practical size for data management purposes.

Evidence from a number of species of seabirds indicates that even though the 'home ranges' of individual nesting seabirds may be immense when foraging trips are taken into account, little movement or feeding overlap may occur between nearby colonies. For example, Thick-billed Murres may commute up to 170 kilometers one way on a feeding trip from the colony, but birds from a colony only 8 kilometers away may forage in a completely different direction; even birds from different sub-colonies only 1.5 kilometers apart mostly fed in completely separate areas (Gaston and Hipfner 2000).

Most seabirds have strong breeding site fidelity; e.g., Thick-billed Murres (Gaston and Hipfner 2000, Gaston et al. 1994), Gray-backed Tern (Mostello et al. 2000), Red-footed Booby (Schreiber et al. 1996).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 2 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Somewhat arbitrary, but generally very conservative for this group, many members of which travel long distances to foraging grounds.
Date: 20Oct2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Feeding area, Loafing site, Roosting site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of flocks of nonbreeding birds (including historical), including nonbreeding birds within the breeding season and breeding individuals outside the breeding season; and potential recurring presence at a given location. Normally only areas where concentrations greater than 25 birds regularly occur for more than 20 days per year would be deemed EOs; the number of individuals may be reduced for very rare species. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance arbitrary; defined this small to aid in conservation planning. Sites more than 10 kilometers apart may be joined as one occurrence if research shows that predominantly the same individuals are using both sites.
Date: 07Mar2001
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 08Apr1996
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
  • Alabama Ornithological Society. 2006. Field checklist of Alabama birds. Alabama Ornithological Society, Dauphin Island, Alabama. [Available online at http://www.aosbirds.org/documents/AOSChecklist_april2006.pdf ]

  • Allen, C. R., S. Demarais, and R. S. Lutz. 1994. Red imported fire ant impact on wildlife: an overview. The Texas Journal of Science 46(1):51-59.

  • American Ornithologists Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American Birds. 7th edition. American Ornithologists Union, Washington, D.C. 829 pages.

  • 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/.

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

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

  • Barcena, F., A. M. Teixeira, and Andres Bermejo. 1984. Breeding seabird populations in the Atlantic sector of the Iberian Peninsula. Pages 335-345 in Croxall et al., eds. Status and conservation of the world's seabirds. ICBP Tech. Pub. No. 2.

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

  • Braun, M. J., D. W. Finch, M. B. Robbins, and B. K. Schmidt. 2000. A field checklist of the birds of Guyana. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

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

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

  • Evans, P. G. H. 1984b. Status and conservation of seabirds in northwest Europe (excluding Norways and the USSR). Pages 293-321 in Croxall et al., eds. Status and conservation of the world's seabirds. ICBP Tech. Pub. No. 2.

  • Gaston, A. J., and J. M. Hipfner. 2000. Thick-billed Murre (Uria lomvia). No. 497 IN A. Poole and F. Gill, editors, The birds of North America. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. 32pp.

  • Gaston, A. J., et al. 1994. Population parameters of thick-billed murres at Coats Island, Northwest Territories, Canada. Condor 96:935-948.

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

  • Golovkin, A. N. 1984. Seabirds nesting in the USSR: the status and protection of populations. Pages 473-486 in Croxall et al., eds. Status and conservation of the world's seabirds. ICBP Tech. Pub. No. 2.

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

  • Imhof, T. A. 1976. Alabama birds. Second edition. Univ. Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa. 445 pp.

  • Mirarchi, R.E., editor. 2004. Alabama Wildlife. Volume 1. A checklist of vertebrates and selected invertebrates: aquatic mollusks, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 209 pages.

  • Mostello, C. S., N. A. Palaia, and R. B. Clapp. 2000. Gray-backed Tern (Sterna lunata). No. 525 in A. Poole and F. Gill (editors). The birds of North America. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. 28 pp.

  • National Geographic Society (NGS). 1983. Field guide to the birds of North America. National Geographic Society, Washington, DC.

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

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  • Sibley, D. A. 2000a. The Sibley guide to birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

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