Grey-headed Gull



Grey-headed Gull in South America

Scientific name: Larus cirrocephalus ([1])

Family: Laridae

Spanish name: Gaviota capucho gris

Migration: Partial Neotropical migrant

Population estimate: No data

Trend: No data

Ramsar Criterion 6 (1% level): No data

IUCN Conservation status: Not known to have unfavourable conservation status


Distribution and abundances

Distributes mainly in central-east South America, breeding in south-east Brazil, east Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. In Argentina distributes mainly within the Pampas region and along the coasts of Patagonia south to Golfo San Jorge, with some record in Tierra del Fuego. A second population distributes along the Pacific coasts of Peru and Ecuador (link to Abundances map). Few sites with more than 7,000 birds (all in Argentina), including the Estuario del Río Dulce and rubbish dumps in the surroundings of Buenos Aires city, in which abundances reached tens of thousands.


Migration and seasonality

Post-breeding dispersion from central-east Argentina and Uruguay to the north reaching central-east Brazil. Part of the population is resident or disperse short distances, with birds that breed in inland wetlands moving to the coast during the non-breeding period. Dispersion occurs along the East Patagonia Route and south along the coast of Patagonia. Between July and September individuals of the Pacific population occurs in the south of Peru. (link to Seasonality map).



Inland in fresh-water and blackish marshes and lagoons -where they nest in colonies, sometimes mixed with the Brown-hooded Gull, along rivers and in ploughed fields. Also occurs along the coast, in estuaries and off-shore islands.


Habits and interactions with human activities

Recorded in big numbers in the rubbish dumps of the surroundings of Buenos Aires city, in Argentina. Also in rural areas, close to wetlands.



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.

De la Peña, M.R. & M. Rumboll. 1998. Birds of southern South America and Antarctica. Collins Illustrated Checklist. Harper-Collins Pub. London.

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: Ignacio Roesler

Photographer: Roberto Güller

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

([1]) Larus (=Chroicocephalus) cirrocephalus




Click on the link to download the factsheet in pdf format: Grey-headed Gull



Click on the map to enlarge