Glaucous Gull
(Larus hyperboreus)


Picture of bird
© Ted Krug
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

Glaucous Gulls breed across the circumpolar Arctic, and in Canada, are found from northern Labrador to the High Arctic. Surveys in the Eastern and High Arctic indicate decreases in abundance, although these surveys have been intermittent and capture only a fraction of the population. Data from elsewhere within the species' range are lacking, though wintering numbers have increased in places. Overall, the Canadian population has likely decreased moderately in abundance since about 1970 though the reliability of this assessment is considered low.


Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2012 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2010 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaModerate DecreaseLow

Population estimate

Canada50,000 - 100,000 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population


Conservation and management

Glaucous Gulls in Canada and across the circumpolar Arctic have been found to carry high levels of contaminants such as persistent organic compounds and heavy metals (Weiser and Gilchrist 2012), but lethal or sub-lethal effects have not yet been documented. Glaucous Gulls frequently forage at garbage dumps around Arctic communities and outside the Arctic during winter. This has contributed to an observed increase in abundance in Alaska (Noel at al. 2006). The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna program has chosen the Glaucous Gull as one of a small group of seabird species to be monitored by all circumpolar countries (population trends, annual reproduction and contaminants; Weiser and Gilchrist 2012).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type


  • Gaston, A.J., D.F. Bertram, A.W. Boyne, J.W. Chardine, G. Davoren, A.W. Diamond, A. Hedd, W.A. Montevecchi, J.M. Hipfner, M.J.F. Lemon, M.L. Mallory, J.-F. Rail and G.J. Robertson. 2009. Changes in Canadian seabird populations and ecology since 1970 in relation to changes in oceanography and food webs. Environmental Reviews 17:267-286.
  • Gilchrist, H.G. and G.J. Robertson. 1999. Population trends of gulls and Arctic terns nesting in the Belcher Islands, Nunavut. Arctic 52:325–331.
  • Noel, L.E., S.R. Johnson and W.J. Gazey. 2006. Oilfield development and Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) distribution and abundance in Central Alaskan Beaufort Sea lagoons, 1970–2001. Arctic 59:65-78.
  • Weiser, E., and H.G. Gilchrist. 2012. Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Weiser, E., and H.G. Gilchrist. 2012. Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. (Link)