Glaucous-winged Gull
(Larus glaucescens)


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

Glaucous-winged Gulls breed along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Oregon and most remain close to their breeding areas in winter. They are a familiar sight in developed areas. Populations are higher than they were historically, having recovered from a low point after egg harvesting stopped in the early 1900s (Blight et al. 2015). However, Breeding Bird Survey results suggest a moderate decrease in the abundance since 1970, which is supported by winter surveys in British Columbia. Counts of nesting birds at breeding colonies corroborate these more recent declines, potentially related to increasing disturbance and predation by Bald Eagles at breeding colonies. 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)Apparently secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaModerate DecreaseHighAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada50,000 - 100,000 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence


Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

Conservation and management

Declining numbers of Bald Eagles and increasing availability of garbage may have contributed to the increases in Glaucous-winged Gull abundance observed until the 1990s (Hayward and Verbeek 2008). Conversely, increasing disturbance at nesting colonies from recovering Bald Eagle populations is believed to be contributing to the recent declines in the Strait of Georgia (Blight et al. 2015). Also, studies have documented a significant decline in egg size, clutch size, and productivity. This declining investment in reproduction may reflect changes in the availability of their marine prey and an increasing reliance on lower quality non-fish food, which may contribute to observed declines (Blight 2011, Blight et al. 2015).


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
Northern Pacific RainforestNorthern Pacific Rainforest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Stewardship