WatchList Species Account for Yellow-footed Gull (Larus livens)

Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species


Photo: Tom Grey

Though it breeds on offshore islands and rocks only in the Gulf of California in Mexico, the Yellow-footed Gull occurs in postbreeding dispersal not only throughout the Gulf but also at the Salton Sea, California. Formerly considered a race of the Western Gull, it was unrecorded in California until the mid-1960s but now numbers up to a thousand individuals. At an estimated 20,000 breeding pairs, it has the smallest population of any North American gull and this fact, plus its limited breeding range, make it of conservation concern. Like other gulls, it is a generalist predator and scavenger.


Egg collecting for subsistence and for recreation is still widely practiced, and humans can cause nest abandonment or predation when they land on the nesting islands. Most islands in the Gulf of California are now protected as refuges by the Mexican government but enforcement has been limited and egg collecting and uncontrolled visitor access by tourists continue to have a deleterious impact on the bird.


Pollution and overfishing are possible threats which could have a considerable effect on the species.