Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Black-tailed Gull (Larus crassirostris)


French: Goéland à queue noire German: Japanmöwe Spanish: Gaviota japonesa

Larus crassirostris


, 1818,

Nagasaki, Japan


Relationships unclear; some analyses place present species closest to L. hemprichii, others to L. heermanni. Monotypic.


SE Russia (Kuril Is, Sakhalin, Moneron I, Popov I, Peter the Great Bay), Japan, Korea and E China (Shandong, Zhejiang#R, Fujian). More widespread in winter, occurring S to N East China Sea.

Descriptive notes

43–51 cm; 436–640 g; wingspan 120–128 cm. A fairly distinctive gull, medium-sized with a relatively short tail that is black or shows a broad black tail-... read more


A deep mewing “kaoo kaoo”, “kau kau” or “yark yark yark”. Also a plaintive rasping mewing.


Coasts, bays and estuaries; breeds on sandy or rocky seashores, sea cliffs, and rocky islets.

Food and feeding

Diet varies locally and annually. Mainly small fish, crustaceans, insects and offal; also molluscs and polychaetes. In winter feeds heavily... read more


Colonies form mid Apr, with laying May–Jun (Siberia). Many colonies hold over 10,000 pairs. Rough nest of dry grass; on sandy or... read more


Post-breeding dispersal to areas rich in food occur. First-year birds from Peter the Great Bay move... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The global population is estimated at 1,000,050 individuals, with sizable concentrations in Peter the Great Bay, Russia, and in Japan... read more

Recommended citation

Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Black-tailed Gull (Larus crassirostris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 6 April 2020).