Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Hartlaub's Gull (Larus hartlaubii)


French: Mouette de Hartlaub German: Hartlaubmöwe Spanish: Gaviota plateada surafricana
Other common names: King Gull

Larus (Gavia) Hartlaubii


, 1853,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


Some recent authors place this species and other “masked gulls” in genus Chroicocephalus (see L. philadelphia). Probably closest to L. novaehollandiae and in past often treated as conspecific. Known to have hybridized with L. cirrocephalus#R. Monotypic.


Coastal SW Africa, mainly from C Namibia (Swakopmund) to SW South Africa (Dyer I, in SW Western Cape). Has nested exceptionally east to Port Elizabeth, E Cape Province#R.

Descriptive notes

37–39 cm; 235–340 g; wingspan 89–92 cm. Two-year gull. The breeding adult is white-bodied, with grey mantle; often with a suggestion of a faint... read more


Quite noisy. Calls include a long series of grating screams, “krreeh..krreeh..krreeh..”, a more... read more


Coasts, harbours, wet lawns, rubbish dumps and slaughterhouses. Breeds on low, flat islands,... read more

Food and feeding

Marine invertebrates, small fish, earthworms, insects, offal and refuse. Much of its natural diet comprises invertebrates, such as kelp... read more


The breeding season differs between locations. Laying variously listed as February or April to September, or peaking April–June. It... read more


Non-migratory. Most ringing recoveries are within 30 km of the ringing site; the longest recovery... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The total population was estimated at around 30,000 birds in 2001 and has since shown an increasing trend. An earlier estimate, in... read more

Recommended citation

Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Garcia, E.F.J. & Boesman, P. (2019). Hartlaub's Gull (Larus hartlaubii). 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 December 2019).