Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Dolphin Gull (Larus scoresbii)


French: Goéland de Scoresby German: Blutschnabelmöwe Spanish: Gaviota patagona

Larus Scoresbii


, 1823,

South Shetland Islands (probably = Falkland Islands)


Some authors place this species and other “hooded gulls” in genus Leucophaeus (see L. modestus). Has sometimes been combined with L. pacificus in genus Gabianus on basis of strongly hooked bill. Previously thought probably to be most closely related to L. belcheri and L. atlanticus, or to L. heermanni; speculated that its unique behaviour, plumage and chick pattern may advocate placement in a monospecific genus. Monotypic.


S South America from SC Chile (Chiloé I) and SC Argentina (Punta Tombo, in Chubut) to Tierra del Fuego; also Falkland Is. Outside breeding season, occurs slightly farther N on both mainland coasts.

Descriptive notes

40–46 cm; 524 g; wingspan 104–110 cm. Uniquely plumaged gull, with uniform grey suffusion on head and underbody, dark mantle and black primaries, the latter with... read more


Long-call is a combination of guttural chatters and one or two high-pitched piercing screams. Other... read more


Rocky coasts; breeds on low sea cliffs, sand or gravel beaches, marshy depressions, or headlands;... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly carrion, offal, bird eggs and chicks; marine invertebrates, and other natural food. Scavenges around marine mammals for dead fish,... read more


Attends colonies from September, laying sometimes in early November (Tierra del Fuego) or late November (Punta Tombo), but mostly in... read more


Falklands population resident, but adults and young disperse widely around the islands. Populations... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The total population is estimated at 10,000–28,000 individuals. Most of the global population inhabits the Falkland Islands,... read more

Recommended citation

Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Garcia, E.F.J. & Boesman, P. (2020). Dolphin Gull (Larus scoresbii). 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 26 February 2020).