Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Yellow-footed Gull (Larus livens)


French: Goéland de Cortez German: Gelbfußmöwe Spanish: Gaviota de Cortés

Larus occidentalis livens


, 1919,

San José Island, Baja California, Mexico


Until recently treated as a race of L. occidentalis, but differs in various ways including vocal repertoire, particularly its lower-pitched Long Call. Some authorities consider it more closely related to, and perhaps derived from, L. dominicanus. Monotypic.


Gulf of California, in NW Mexico; some post-breeding dispersal N to SW USA (Salton Sea, rarely to Californian coast#R) and S to W Mexico (Sinaloa, rarely to Guerrero and Oaxaca#R).

Descriptive notes

60–67 cm; 1110–1400 g; wingspan 142–155 cm. A three-year gull, despite its large size. Has a long neck, long legs and a distinctive chunky, broad-based bill... read more


Calls are deeper, slower and more nasal than those of the Western Gull, a hoarse "gruff-gruff", "... read more


Breeds on sandy and rocky islands, usually with little or no vegetation. Forages on shorelines and... read more

Food and feeding

Consumes fish, invertebrates, carcasses of marine mammals, and offal; takes small seabirds (petrels), pelican eggs, crabs, fish and... read more


Little detailed information is available. Egg-laying is in early April, the earliest nests having eggs in late March. Most nest in ... read more


Movements are relatively short range, almost entirely confined to the Gulf of California. There is... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The global population of this little studied species is not definitely known but has recently been estimated at 20,000 pairs or 60,... read more

Recommended citation

Burger, J., Gochfeld, M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Yellow-footed Gull (Larus livens). 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 22 February 2020).