Herring Gulls given ‘Red Status’ as a threatened species by RSPB

The Herring Gull is an omnivorous scavenger and is found all around Looe.

You see them everywhere, nesting on roof tops and dancing on car bonnets! They’re graceful, acrobatic, cheeky, fascinating, frightening and make for very protective parents! Personally I like them.

Many people in Looe have a story to tell about having their sandwiches stolen. Many say they are the ‘rats of the sky’ whilst others see them as natural survivors who are adapting to us and our social habits.

Whatever you think, the Herring Gull has now been given Red Status by the RSPB and classed a threatened species. Love them or hate them, can you imagine waking up every morning to the eery silence of Looe without the cry of the Herring Gull?

The Herring Gull – facts and figures

If you go to the Herring Gull page on the RSPB (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) website, you’ll find all kinds of information including videos and call sounds.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

1. Latin name: Larus argentatus
2. Family: Gulls (Laridae)
3. Habitat: Herring Gulls are large, noisy gulls found around our coasts and sometimes inland.
4. Adults: Older birds have light grey backs, white under parts, and black wing tips with white ‘mirrors’.
5. Legs: Pink with webbed feet.
6. Bill: Heavy, slightly hooked and marked with a red spot.
7. Juveniles: Young birds are mottled brown.

Herring Gulls have suffered moderate declines over the past 25 years and over half of their UK breeding population is confined to fewer than ten sites. Breeding numbers are approx. 139,309 pairs in the UK.
Red Status

Birds in the UK are split into 3 levels of conservation importance

  1. Red
  2. Amber
  3. Green

Herring Gulls are in the same list as the Bittern, Corncrake, Arctic Skua and Song Thrush. 52 species in all are on the Red Status list at the moment. You can read more on the pdf available from the RSPB (under Downloads on right side of website page).

Red Status is only allocated to birds that need urgent and immediate action to prevent them from further decline.

Red list criteria

  • Globally threatened.
  • Historical population decline in UK during 1800–1995.
  • Severe (at least 50%) decline in UK breeding population over last 25 years, or longer-term period (the entire period used for assessments since the first BoCC review, starting in 1969).
  • Severe (at least 50%) contraction of UK breeding range over last 25 years, or the longer-term period.

What do you think about Herring Gulls now you now the above?

Tell me about it on the ilovelooe.co.uk forums or leave a comment below.

More News you might find interesting

About iLoveLooe

Cornwall was always one of our dream places to live, so we upped sticks in 2007 and moved to Looe. I now run iLoveLooe.co.uk and various social media locations for Looe on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Say 'Hi' sometime.