Brown-hooded Gull



Brown-hooded Gull in South America

Scientific name: Larus maculipennis ([1])

Family: Laridae

Spanish name: Gaviota capucho café

Migration: Partial Neotropical migrant

Population estimate: 100,000–1,000,000 ([2])

Trend: Increasing ([2])

Ramsar Criterion 6 (1% level): 10,000 ([2])

IUCN Conservation status: Not known to have unfavourable conservation status


Distribution and abundances

Widely distributed in southern South America, south to Tierra del Fuego and the Malvinas / Falkland islands. During the austral winters migrates north mainly to north-central Chile, northern Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil. Highest abundances recorded in south-central Chile, within the Pampas of Argentina and along the coastal plain of Uruguay and Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. Common in lakes on the foothills east of the Andes (link to Abundances map). Sites reaching the 1% threshold (Ramsar Convention Criterion No. 6) includes Laguna Llancanelo, Bañados del Río Saladillo, Laguna Mar Chiquita and Bañados del Río Dulce (estimate of 300,000 birds), in Argentina.


Migration and seasonality

Patagonian breeding populations migrate north during the austral winter, reaching central Argentina, north of Chile and east of Brazil. Migration occurs along the East Patagonian Route and along the Pacific and Atlantic coast of southern South America. Other populations remain in the Pampas lagoons (Buenos Aires and Santa Fe provinces) throughout the year. Besides, after breeding some birds disperse to large rivers and coastal areas (link to Seasonality map).



Inland and coastal wetlands, from marine coasts, estuaries and salt-marshes to fresh-water marshes, lakes, lagoons and rivers. Also common in cultivated fields, sewage outfalls and rubbish dumps. Breeding colonies mainly in fresh-water wetlands with emergent vegetation.


Habits and interactions with human activities

Gregarious species, often in large flocks highly associated to human activities. Common in rural areas and cultivated lands, coastal areas with urban and tourism development, harbors, sewage outfalls and rubbish dumps.



Blanco, D.E. & M. Carbonell (Eds.). 2001. El Censo Neotropical de Aves Acuáticas. Los primeros 10 años: 1990-1999. Wetlands International, Buenos Aires, Argentina & Ducks Unlimited, Inc. Memphis, USA.

Canevari, M., P. Canevari, G.R. Carrizo, G. Harris, J. Rodríguez Mata & R. Straneck. 1991. Nueva Guía de las Aves Argentinas. Fundación Acindar. Santiago de Chile. Tome I: 200 pp. and Tome II: 182 pp.

del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds). 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 3. Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Ed., Barcelona.

Fjeldsa, J. & N. Krabbe. 1990. Birds of the High Andes. Zoological Museum, Univ. of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Narosky, T. & D. Yzurieta. 1987. Guía para la identificación de las aves de Argentina y Uruguay. Asoc. Ornitológica del Plata. Vázquez Manzini Ed. Buenos Aires. 345 pp.

Olrog, C.C. 1963. Lista y distribución de las aves argentinas. Opera Lilloana IX, Tucumán.

Olrog, C.C. 1968. Las aves sudamericanas: Una guía de campo. Tomo I. Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Fundación - Instituto Miguel Lillo, Tucumán, Argentina.

Rodríguez Mata, J., F. Erize & M. Rumboll. 2006. Guía de Campo Collins – Aves de Sudamérica: No Passeriformes. Harper Collins Ltd.

Wetlands International. 2006. Waterbird Population Estimates – Fourth Edition. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.



Authors: Daniel E. Blanco, Román Baigún & Bernabé López-Lanús

Data compiler: Diego Monteleone

Photographer: Roberto Guller

Recommended citation: Blanco D.E., R. Baigún & B. López-Lanús. 2008. Brown-hooded Gull in South America factsheet. Wetlands International for the Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance / WCS / USAID.

([1]) Larus (=Chroicocephalus) maculipennis

([2]) South American population; not including the Falkland / Malvinas Islands (4,200-7,800 birds).




Click on the link to download the factsheet in pdf format: Brown-hooded Gull



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