Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Near Threatened

Heermann's Gull (Larus heermanni)


French: Goéland de Heermann German: Heermannmöwe Spanish: Gaviota mexicana

Larus Heermanni


, 1852,

San Diego, California, USA


Has been judged close to L. modestus or L. crassirostris. Monotypic.


Breeds in NW Mexico in Gulf of California (particularly I Rasa, off E Baja California) S to Nayarit; also Pacific coast of Baja California (S from San Benito Is). Unsuccessful nesting attempts in USA along California coast N to San Francisco Bay#R. Disperses commonly to C California, USA, and in smaller numbers N to British Columbia, Canada, and S to Guatemala.

Descriptive notes

43–49 cm; 371–643 g; wingspan 117–124 cm. Distinctive medium-sized gull, with a dark body and white head; grey-brown above, pale grey below, with pale grey... read more


Calls have a nasal quality. They include "av-av-av" in a short, descending series and a single "... read more


Coastal; rarely reported inland. It frequents a wide range of coastal and estuarine areas, notably... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly fish in breeding season; also lizards, insects and other invertebrates. It associates with feeding sea lions to seize scraps of food... read more


Egg-laying in late Apr; hatching from mid-May. Most of the few colonies hold fewer than 100 pairs but the principal colony, on Isla Rasa in... read more


Post-breeding dispersal from its colonies in Baja California, Mexico, begins in December. Large... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Only a few colonies are known, the most important of which are in the Gulf of California, Mexico. The global... read more

Recommended citation

Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Bonan, A. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Heermann's Gull (Larus heermanni). 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 16 February 2020).