Lesser Black-backed Gull
(Larus fuscus)


Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen (flickr.com/photos/jukka_jantunen)
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Lesser Black-backed Gull breeds throughout the northeastern Atlantic. Outside the breeding season, these birds generally travel south and east, reaching the coasts of the Mediterranean, Black, North and Caspian Seas, northern and eastern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and northwest India. Over-wintering Lesser Black-backed Gulls are increasingly being observed on the east coasts of North America including a small number of migrants in Atlantic Canada each year. Christmas Bird Count results suggest a large increase in abundance since 1970. However, the Canadian population is not well covered by the survey, so this assessment is considered to be of medium reliability. With <1% of the world population over-wintering in Canada, conservation responsibility for this species is very low.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Unrankable2015 

Population status

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

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
CanadaNot yet available

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Seasonal visitor

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery Low

Conservation and management

There are no specific conservation concerns for this species in Canada. Elsewhere, localized breeding population decreases of the Lesser Black-backed Gull have been attributed to competition and predation from larger gull species, high chick mortality from disease, high levels of bio-accumulated environmental pollutants, and food stress (Olsen and Larsson 2004, Hario et al. 2004, Camphuysen and Gronert 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