Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

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). 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 L. ridibundus but smaller, flatter crowned and... read more


Resembles L. hemprichii but less harsh and deep. Long-call a “kioow”, repeated 12–16 times... read more


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

Food and feeding

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


Season Jun–Sept, at least in Saudi Arabia; lays mainly in Jul, hatching complete by late Aug. Single-brooded, but can lay replacement... read more


Mostly sedentary but there is some dispersal and wandering, both N and S. Adults tend to remain... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Previously considered Near Threatened. According to BirdLife International, the global population, assessed in 2002, excluding... read more

Recommended citation

Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). 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 23 March 2019).