Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Near Threatened

White-eyed Gull (Larus leucophthalmus)


French: Goéland à iris blanc German: Weißaugenmöwe Spanish: Gaviota ojiblanca

Larus leucophthalmus


, 1825,

Red Sea coasts


Some recent authors place this species and other “black-headed gulls” in genus Ichthyaetus (see L. ichthyaetus, above). Morphometrically closest to L. hemprichii. Monotypic.


Red Sea from Gulf of Suez and Gulf of Aqaba (Tiran) S into Gulf of Aden, breeding on islands and islets in Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia. In winter disperses throughout the breeding range#R#R.

Descriptive notes

39–43 cm; 275–415 g; wingspan 110–115 cm. A dark, slender, long-billed gull, slightly larger than the Black-headed Gull L. ridibundus but smaller,... read more


Resembles the Sooty Gull L. hemprichii but less harsh and deep. The long-call is a "kioow... read more


Coastal, breeding especially on inshore islands, where it occupies bare rock and sandflats. It is... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly fish; also some crabs, molluscs and annelids; even some fruits (Nitraria retusa). Feeds mainly by plunge-diving from... read more


Season June–August, at least in Saudi Arabia; lays mainly in July, hatching complete by late August. First clutches may be laid as... read more


Mostly sedentary but there is some dispersal and wandering, both northwards and southwards. Adults... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. According to BirdLife International, the global population, assessed in 2002, excluding Eritrea, is c. 12,000... read more

Recommended citation

Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2018). White-eyed Gull (Larus leucophthalmus). 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 April 2018).