Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Larus cachinnans can be found in eastern Europe, the Middle East, north-west Africa and central Asia. It is resident in much of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. It also seasonally breeds from the Black Sea, across the north of the Caspian Sea to eastern Kazakhstan, and on the central Asian steppes. Wintering grounds include the coast of south-west Asia (breeders from the steppes), the north-west coast of Africa, and around the Arabian Peninsula up to north-west India.

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Azores to Central Asia
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Behaviour This species is fully migratory, though some colonies aroundthe Black and Caspian Sea may be resident (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Post-breeding movements to wintering areas occur from July to November, with the return migration occurring from mid-February to mid-June (Olsen and Larsson 2003). The species breeds from mid-March to April (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998), although the exact timing varies geographically (Olsen and Larsson 2003). It breeds colonially in groups of up to 8,000 pairs, and may nest in monospecific clusters within mixed-species colonies (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Outside of the breeding season the species remains gregarious, congregating around ports, harbours and refuse dumps (le Grand et al. 1984). Habitat Breeding During the breeding season the species nests near lakes surrounded by reedbeds (Olsen and Larsson 2003) in steppe and semi-desert (Central Asia) (del Hoyo et al. 1996), reservoirs, rivers (de Juana 1984), and on grassy or shrubby river islands (del Hoyo et al. 1996), also forming colonies on sea cliffs (de Juana 1984), rocky and sandy offshore islands, rocky coasts (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998), sandy beaches, spits (del Hoyo et al. 1996), sand-dunes, and salt-pans (Snow and Perrins 1998), and foraging in intertidal zones (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and in brackish coastal marshes (Snow and Perrins 1998). Non-breeding Outside of the breeding season the species is more common along the coast (e.g. at harbours and ports) and in other marine habitats (though seldom far from land). During this season it also forages in cultivated fields (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998, Olsen and Larsson 2003) and along rivers, and is especially common at refuse dumps (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998). Diet Its diet consists of fish, invertebrates (including insects, molluscs (Olsen and Larsson 2003) and crabs (Munilla 1997)), reptiles, small mammals (e.g. voles (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and ground squirrels (Snow and Perrins 1998)), refuse, offal, and bird eggs and chicks (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. of petrels and shearwaters) (le Grand et al. 1984). Breeding site The nest is constructed of nearby vegetation, feathers, debris and old carcasses, and is preferably positioned close to or under bushes (del Hoyo et al. 1996), or on rocky and sandy islands, beaches, spits, sea cliffs, grassy or shrubby river islands (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and occasionally on high ground hundreds of metres from water (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species breeds colonially in monospecific or mixed-species groups, with pairs usually nesting a few metres apart (del Hoyo et al. 1996).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 248 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 105 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): 11.796 - 19.012
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.996 - 7.234
  Salinity (PPS): 34.704 - 37.870
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.022 - 6.500
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.068 - 0.630
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.042 - 4.938

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): 11.796 - 19.012

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.996 - 7.234

Salinity (PPS): 34.704 - 37.870

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.022 - 6.500

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.068 - 0.630

Silicate (umol/l): 1.042 - 4.938
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 31.9 years (wild)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Larus cachinnans

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There is 1 barcode sequence available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.

Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.

ACTGCCCTC---AGCCTGCTTATCCGTGCAGAACTTGGCCNACCCGGAACCCTCCTAGGAGAC---GACCAAATCTATAACGTAATTGTCACCGCCCATGCCTTCGTGATAATCTTCTTCATAGTGATACCAATCATGATCGGTGGGTTTGGAAACTGACTAGTCCCACTTATA---ATCGGTGCCCCTGATATAGCATTTCCACGCATAAACAACATAAGCTTCTGACTATTACCCCCATCATTCCTACTCCTCCTAGCCTCTTCCACAGTAGAAGCTGGAGCCGGCACAGGATGAACAGTATACCCCCCTCTAGCTGGCAATCTAGCTCATGCTGGAGCCTCAGTAGACCTA---GCAATCTTCTCTCTTCACTTAGCAGGTGTGTCTTCCATTCTGGGTGCTATCAACTTTATCACTACAGCCATCAACATAAAACCCCCTGCCCTCTCACAATATCAAACCCCACTATTCGTATGATCCGTACTCATCACTGCCGTCCTATTACTACTTTCACTCCCAGTGCTTGCCGCA---GGCATTACTATGCTACTTACAGACCGAAACCTAAACCCAACATTCTTCGATCCCGCCGGAGGCGGTGACCCTGTACTGTACCAACACCTC
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Larus cachinnans

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2014

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.


History
  • 2012
    Least Concern
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Status in Egypt

Regular passage visitor and winter visitor.

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Population

Population
Global population size is unknown owing to recent taxonomic splits.


Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is vulnerable to oil pollution (James 1984, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Utilisation The species is hunted for sport in Ukraine (Rudenko 2006).

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Wikipedia

Caspian gull

"Larus cachinnans" redirects here. For another species for which this name has been used, see Yellow-legged gull.

Caspian gull is a name applied to the gull taxon Larus (argentatus) cachinnans, a member of the herring gull/lesser black-backed gull complex.

Description[edit]

It is a large gull at 56–68 cm (22–27 in) long, with a 137 to 155 cm (54 to 61 in) wingspan and a body mass of 680–1,590 g (1.50–3.51 lb).[2][3] Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 38.5 to 48 cm (15.2 to 18.9 in), the bill is 4.6 to 6.4 cm (1.8 to 2.5 in) and the tarsus is 5.8 to 7.7 cm (2.3 to 3.0 in).[3] The Caspian gull has a long, slender bill, accentuated by the sloping forehead. The legs, wings and neck are longer than those of the herring gull and yellow-legged gull. The eye is small and often dark, the legs vary from pale pink to a pale yellowish colour. The back and wings are a slightly darker shade of grey than the herring gull but slightly paler than the yellow-legged gull. The outermost primary feather has a large white tip and a white tongue running up the inner web.

First-winter birds have a pale head with dark streaking on the back of the neck. The underparts are pale and the back is greyish. The greater and median wing-coverts have whitish tips forming two pale lines across the wing.

Distribution[edit]

The Caspian gull breeds around the Black and Caspian Seas, extending eastwards across Central Asia to north-west China. In Europe it has been spreading north and west and now breeds in Poland and eastern Germany. Some birds migrate south as far as the Red Sea and Persian Gulf while others disperse into Western Europe, in countries such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Small numbers are now seen regularly in Britain, especially in South-east England, East Anglia and the Midlands.

Breeding[edit]

It typically nests on flat, low-lying ground by water unlike the yellow-legged gull which mainly nests on cliffs in areas where the two overlap. The breeding season starts from early April. Two or three eggs are laid and incubated for 27 to 31 days.

Feeding[edit]

They are scavengers and predators with a very varied diet. During the breeding season they often eat rodents such as ground squirrels, flying some distance into the steppes to find them.

Classification and subspecies[edit]

This form has a troubled taxonomic history, summarised in the herring gull article. The Caspian gull used to be treated as a subspecies of the herring gull but it is now treated as a full species by many authorities (e.g. the British Ornithologists' Union Records Committee). Some authorities include the yellow-legged gull (L. michahellis) within L. cachinnans but it is now commonly considered to be a separate species.

The steppe gull or Baraba gull (L. (cachinnans) barabensis) may be regarded as a subspecies of the Caspian gull or as a separate species. It is also very similar genetically to its northern neighbour, the taimyrensis race of Heuglin's gull. The steppe gull breeds in Central Asia, particularly northern Kazakhstan. Its non-breeding range is still little-known but most are thought to winter in south-west Asia from the Persian Gulf to north-west India. There are possible records of this form from Hong Kong and South Korea.

The Mongolian gull (L. (vegae/cachinnans) mongolicus) may be classed as a subspecies of the Caspian gull, a subspecies of the East Siberian gull or as a species in its own right. It breeds in Mongolia and surrounding areas and migrates south-east in winter.

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2013). "Larus cachinnans". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (1992), ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.
  3. ^ a b Gulls: Of North America, Europe, and Asia by Klaus Malling Olsen & Hans Larsson. Princeton University Press (2004). ISBN 978-0691119977.
  • Paul Doherty & Bill Oddie (2001) Gulls: A Video Guide to the Gulls of Europe, Asia & North America. Videocassette. Bird Images.
  • Dick Newell (2003) What is a Caspian Gull?. BirdGuides (http://www.birdguides.com/birdnews/articles.asp), accessed 18/9/06, subscription only.
  • Klaus Malling Olsen & Hans Larsson (2003) Gulls of North America, Europe, and Asia, Princeton University Press.
  • D.W. Snow & C.M. Perrins (1998) The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Concise Edition (Vol. 1), Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Further reading[edit]

Identification[edit]

  • Garner & Quinn, British Birds 90:25-63, 369-84
  • Bakker, Theo, Rudy Offereins and Rik Winters (2000) Caspian Gull identification gallery, Birding World 13(2): 60-74 (identification article including 34 images of Caspian Gulls of various ages)
  • Jonsson, Lars (1998) Yellow-legged gulls and yellow legged herring gulls in the Baltic Alula 4 (3/1998): 74-100.
  • Neubauer, Gregory & Richard Millington (2000) Caspian Gull identification revisited Birding World 13(11): 462-5 (addresses identification in juvenile plumage)
  • Small, Brian (2001) The juvenile Caspian Gull in Suffolk Birding World 14(9): 385-7
  • Gibbins, Chris, Brian J. Small and John Sweeney (2010) From the Rarities Committee's files: Identification of Caspian Gull, part 1: typical birds British Birds 103(3): 142-183 (detailed identification paper, covering typical individuals)
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