The breeding range of Larus ridibundus is very broad, extending from the southern tip of Greenland and all of Iceland down through the majority of Europe and Central Asia. The Kamchatka Peninsula forms this species' eastern range; Ussuriland in Russia and Heilongjiang in northeast China lie at the extreme southeastern part of this range. Larus ridibundus is uncommon in northeastern North America.
The northern population of this species is migratory. Birds residing at lower latitudes, however, tend to be non-migratory. Most birds in the western Palearctic breed in central and north European wetlands and migrate to their winter grounds in the Mediterranean basin. Birds that breed in Scandinavia migrate to the Brittish Isles, and the majority migrate farther, flying along the Atlantic Coast to West Africa. Birds from Central Asia migrate south to India, Malaysia, and Philippines. North Africa, particularly Egypt, is a common destination for L. ridibundus (Howard and Moore, 1991; Cantos et al., 1994).
Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); palearctic (Native ); oriental (Native )
- Cantos, F., A. Alonso-Gomez, M. Delgado. 1994. Seasonal changes in fat and protein reserves of the black-headed gull, Larus ridibundus, in relation to migration. Comparative Biochemical Physiology, Vol. 108A, No. 1: 117-122.
- Howard, R., A. Moore. 1991. A Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. Second edition.. London, San Diego: Academic Press.
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