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SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
Home  > Marine birds > Audouin's Gull
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Audouin's Gull
Audouin's Gull - Larus audouinii
(Portuguese Common Name - Gaivota de Audouin)

Breeding

The breeding season begins with mating displays and pair formation from mid-March to mid-April. Clutches of 1 to 4 eggs are laid in April/May and most of the young hatch at the end of May. The juveniles leave the nests from the end of June.

Distribution and population size
Audouin's Gull breeds mostly in the Mediterranean and has only recently started nesting in Portugal. The majority of birds overwinter on the North-west coast of Africa, as far as Senegambia.

Identification
This is a medium sized gull which can be distinguished from similar gulls by its dark red beak (which looks black from a distance), by the dark iris, dark grey or greyish feet and by the very light grey tone of the upper part of the plumage.

Habitat
In general it frequents rocky coasts and islands or sandy beaches. Birds breed in pairs or in colonies in sites with little disturbance, on small rocky islands or near estuaries.

Conservation
The principal threats to this species are the degradation of its habitat, changes to traditional fishing and competition from the Yellow legged gull (Larus michahellis). Disturbance of the breeding colonies, whether due to the presence of people or from direct predation by domestic and feral animals, is also a factor which contributes to the vulnerability of this gull.

Conservation status and legal instruments of protection
Audouin's Gull has the conservation status Near Threatened. It is included in Annex I of the Birds Directive and in Annex II of the Berne Convention. A significant area of its habitat is included in Annex I of the Habitats Directive. In Portugal it is considered Vulnerable, according to the Red Book of Vertebrates of Portugal.

Current state of knowledge in Portugal
There are unpublished studies of the breeding biology and breeding population censuses in Portugal. SPEA is currently co-ordinating an in-depth study of this species. There is no data available on its distribution at sea through the year.





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