Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Slender-billed Gull (Larus genei)


French: Goéland railleur German: Dünnschnabelmöwe Spanish: Gaviota picofina

Larus Geneï


, 1839,



Slightly earlier name L. gelastes is a nomen nudum. Some recent authors place this species and other “masked gulls” in genus Chroicocephalus (see L. philadelphia); within that group, present species and L. philadelphia found to be basal#R#R. Has hybridized with L. ridibundus#R. Monotypic.


Widely scattered, isolated localities from Senegal, Mauritania, S & E Iberia through Mediterranean, Black Sea, Asia Minor and Middle East to E Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and NW India; occasionally farther E, even as far as L Baikal region of S Russia#R. Winters S to Horn of Africa.

Descriptive notes

42–44 cm; 220–350 g; wingspan 94–110 cm. Two (three)-year gull. Distinctive shape, with long sloping forehead, long, slightly drooping bill, and long legs.... read more


Calls are deeper, mellower and throatier than in L. ridibundus; in particular, the rolling... read more


Breeds at scattered coastal locations around the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas and Persian... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly small fish and aquatic invertebrates, captured at alkaline, saline or freshwater lakes or lagoons inland or along coasts. Brine... read more


Forms colonies of tens to thousands of pairs, often with terns. Returns to breeding colonies in late Mar; lays in late Mar to May,... read more


Populations in W Africa, Iberia, Persian Gulf and Pakistan are only partly migratory. Many disperse... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The global population is estimated to range between 312,500 and 377,500 individuals of which 140,000–205,000 are in the Black... read more

Recommended citation

Burger, J., Gochfeld, M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Slender-billed Gull (Larus genei). 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 24 February 2020).