Yellow-footed Gull (Larus livens)

Yellow-footed Gull

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Laridae | [latin] Larus livens | [UK] Yellow-footed Gull | [FR] Goeland de Cortez | [DE] Gelbfussmowe | [ES] Gaviota de Cortes | [NL] Mexicaanse Meeuw


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

This large gull closely resembles the Western Gull, but the adult has yellow (not pinkish) feet.

wingspan min.: 150 cm wingspan max.: 157 cm
size min.: 65 cm size max.: 75 cm
incubation min.: 26 days incubation max.: 30 days
fledging min.: 30 days fledging max.: 45 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


North America, Middle America : coastal Northwest Mexico and South California


In U.S., barren shoreline of Salton Sea. Visitors to Salton Sea concentrate on west side, mostly on open shoreline, sometimes foraging in flooded fields nearby. In Gulf of California, found around islands
and shoreline, sometimes well out to sea but almost never inland.


Breeding behavior not well known, probably similar to that of Western Gull. Nests in colonies, with different arrangement from those of Western Gull: nests are arranged in a line along beach just above the reach of the highest tides, and each pair may def
end a narrow territory from the nest down to the water. Displays include long calls; throwing head back repeatedly; lowering head and giving mewing call.
Nest: Site is on ground, on beach or at base of cliffs, a short distance above the high tide line. Nest is a shallow depression, lined with seaweed, grass, or other plant material.
Eggs: Usually 3. Olive to buff, marked with dark brown. Incubation probably by both parents.
Young: Probably fed by both parents. Probably able to fly at about 6-7 weeks after hatching.

Feeding habits

Fish, other marine life.
Diet poorly known. On Gulf of California, probably includes fish, crabs, shrimp, clams, wide variety of other sea creatures. Also takes eggs and young of other birds. Will eat carrion, and scavenges around dumps and docks for scraps and refuse.
Behavior: Feeding behavior not well known. Forages while walking, wading, or swimming, sometimes plunging into water in flight.


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Yellow-footed Gull status Least Concern


Breeds in western Mexico; occurs in our area as a post-breeding visitor only at Salton Sea. It would be casual or accidental anywhere else in California. Migration:
Most are probably permanent residents within Gulf of California. Some (up t
o several hundred) move north to Salton Sea, California, after nesting season. Main arrival typically late June, with peak numbers in August; small numbers usually remain through winter.

Distribution map

Yellow-footed Gull distribution range map

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