Larus audouinii breeds in (all data for pairs) Spain (20,3154), mainly the Chafarinas Islands and the Ebro Delta with the latter holding 65% of the global population9, Algeria (100-600), Greece (700-9003 in 65 colonies), and the Sardinia and Tuscan Archipelago, Italy (550-650), with smaller colonies in Portugal (40), Corsica, France (between 54-605 and 807), Cyprus (c. 3240), islets and rocks in the southern Adriatic Sea near Korcula and Peljesac Peninsula, Croatia (658 in 5 colonies), Turkey (60-902), Tunisia (70-115) and Morocco (50-300). It winters on the coast of North and West Africa from Libya west to Morocco and south to Mauritania, Gambia, Senegal and Gabon13 and there is a small wintering population in the east Mediterranean along the Aegean coast of Turkey. The global population has been estimated at c.21,500 pairs, and a recent assessment put the European population (including some Spanish islands and islets off Morocco) at 20,500-21,000 pairs (encompassing over 90% of the global population) and stable or increasing throughout. This represents a significant increase from an estimated population of 1,000 pairs in 1975 and is thought to be a result of the increased availability mainly of effectively protected areas during the 1980s, and secondly of discarded fish from the trawlers, particularly around the Ebro Delta1. The large expansion of Larus audouinii in the western Mediterranean has probably caused the breeding population in other parts of the Mediterranean to increase and new colonies have been found in Croatia and even out of the Mediterranean in southern Portugal10,12. Nevertheless more than 90% of the European breeding population occurs at just four sitesand only a single site (the Ebro Delta) held 70% of the global breeding numbers in 2006. Recruitment can be extremely rapid when food availability is high, resulting in high population growth rates15,26. It is a long-lived species with high adult survival and relatively low fertility. Adult annual survival is estimated at 0.9515,19,25.
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