Black-headed Gull
(Chroicocephalus ridibundus)


Picture of bird
© Gemma Longman - License
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

In the early 20th century, this species began expanding its range westward from Europe and Asia to Iceland, then Greenland. The first documented nest was found in Newfoundland in 1977. North America is also an overwintering destination for a small number of migrants from Iceland and Greenland. Monitoring data are insufficient to reliably assess the population status of this species in Canada relative to 1970. Less than 1% of the world’s population nests or overwinters in North America. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Vulnerable2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaData DeficientData DeficientData Deficient

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada< 100 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Not available

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery Low

Conservation and management

In Canada, the expansion or even persistence of Black-headed Gull breeding colonies may be restricted by the growth of nearby colonies of other larger gull species (Robertson 2002a). Globally, population decreases at some breeding sites have been attributed to changes in food availability, increased competition from other gull species, and changes in agricultural practices, which reduces scavenging opportunities (Olsen and Larsson 2004).


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
Gulf of St. LawrenceGulf of St. Lawrence, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NL -- Other