Western Gull
(Larus occidentalis)


Picture of bird
© Dschwen - License
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The Western Gull breeds along the Pacific coast of the United States. This species has only been observed to breed once in Canada (in 1969) and is, at present, considered only a possible breeder. Non-breeding birds, however, occur regularly from October to March along the coast of southern British Columbia and Vancouver Island. The national population size and trend relative to 1970, which focus on the larger wintering population, are currently unclear. The Western Gull is therefore considered to be data deficient. 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)Unrankable2015 
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
Canada0 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery Low

Conservation and management

In winter, Western Gulls occur in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia, where they may be exposed to contaminants or chronic oil pollution. These birds prey on smaller species of seabirds, and programs to control their abundance were once in place at several breeding locations in the United States (Pierotti and Annett 1995). The species interbreeds with Glaucous-winged Gulls (Scott 1971, Siddle 2015b), which are more common in Canada. However, the most recent Atlas of the Breeding Birds of British Colombia did not record any Western Gull pairs or Western Gulls hybridizing with Glaucous-winged Gulls (Siddle 2015b).


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