Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Red-billed Gull (Larus scopulinus)

Following the taxonomy applied to HBW Alive, derived from the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, this taxon is now lumped within Silver Gull (Larus novaehollandiae).


French: Mouette scopuline German: Rotschnabelmöwe Spanish: Gaviota Plateada Neozelandesa

Larus scopulinus

J. R. Forster

, 1844,

Dusky Sound, South Island, New Zealand


Forms superspecies with L. hartlaubii and L. novaehollandiae, and usually considered a race of latter. Exceptional mixed pairs with L. bulleri, producing fertile hybrids, but the two appear behaviourally isolated. Monotypic.


New Zealand, breeding mainly on E coasts of North I and South I, and inland at L Rotorua (North I); also Stewart I, Chathams, Bounties, Snares, Aucklands and Campbell I.

Descriptive notes

37 cm; 245–360 g; wingspan 91–96 cm. Head, body and tail white; mantle and wing-coverts pale grey; outer primaries black, tipped white, with large white mirrors;... read more


Coasts, lakes, rubbish dumps, sewage outfalls, fishing piers, wet lawns, and fields. Breeds on... read more

Food and feeding

In breeding season, mainly euphausiid krill (Nyctiphanes australis) and other planktonic crustaceans, but also earthworms, insects... read more


Most data from 29-year study of Kaikoura colony (NE South I). Begins nesting Jul; prolonged egg-laying (late Sept to Dec), with peak in Oct... read more


Leaves breeding areas in mid-Jan. Most adults remain within 380 km of colony, while juveniles... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Total population probably over 500,000 pairs. As with many gulls, this species has increased dramatically through most of 20th century, benefiting... read more

Recommended citation

Burger, J. & Gochfeld, M. (2019). Red-billed Gull (Larus scopulinus). 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 20 September 2019).