Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)



The Caspian Gull is a large gull. This species is usually at home in eastern Europe and in the western part of Central Asia - in the area between the Black Sea and the eastern Kazakhstan. In Western Europe it is a rare sight. Though it is possible to watch a few of them on the German North Sea island of Heligoland. 


It is possible to confuse this gull with the Lesser Black-backed Gull even in the adult plumage. 


caspian gull
Caspian Gull


Description - Characteristics: Caspian Gull


Breeding – Clutch – Measurements – Habitat – Diet - Threats



Order: Charadriiformes

Family: Laridae

Genus: Larus

Species: Caspian Gull


Scientific Name: Larus argentatus


Names and Synonyms of the Caspian Gull


Name in German: Steppenmöwe

Name in Czech: Racek bělohlavý

Name in Slovak: Čajka bielohlavá

Name in Hungarian: Sztyeppi sirály

Name in Croat: Pontski galeb

Name in French: Goéland pontique

Name in Spanish: Gaviota del Caspio

Name in Portuguese: Gaivota-de-patas-amarelas

Name in Dutch: Pontische Meeuw

Name in Italian: Gabbiano reale pontico

Name in Finnish: Aroharmaalokki

Name in Danish: Kaspisk Måge

Name in Swedish: Kaspisk trut

Name in Polish: Mewa białogłowa

Name in Russian: Хохотунья

Name in Turkey: Gümüş martı, gümüş marty, Hazar Martısı, Hazer Denizi Gümüşü Martı

Name in Hebrew: שחף כוזרי, שחף צהוב רגל, שחף צהוב־רגל, שחף צהוב-רגל

Name in Arabic: النورس أصفر الرجلين جنة, النورس اصفر الأرجل, النورس القوقازي, نورس قزويني

Name in Mongol: Бархираа цахлай

Name in Kazakh: Улуғ хайлах


Characteristics of the Caspian Gull


Distribution: The Caspian Gull was originally distributed around the Black Sead, the Caspian Sea area and in the east of Kazakhstan. Migration extended distributional boundaries to the north and northeast of Europe. Now distribution reaches through southeast Europe, across central Europe and northwards to the Baltics and the North Sea. As a guest, the Caspian Gul has now reached the German Island of Heligoland.


Movements: Migratory, especially juveniles move across Europe.


Habitat: Similar to Yellow-legged Gull in temperate zones, but also in steppes, on sandy and rocky shores, brackish marsh, dunes, inlands alongside river banks, on lakes and swamps.


Behaviour: Similar to Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull.


Field Characteristics


Bill: yellow-green.


Legs: light yellow -pink .


Iris: light.




Size: 58-67 cm


♂: 750-1330 g

♀: 680-1147 g

Wingspan: 140-158 cm


♂: 43.5-48.2 cm

♀: 39.5-46.0 cm


Voice: Mostly silent, except for breeding season, then uttering prolonged shrill “whi-ee-ee” or similar.




So far there are no recordings available on breeding.


Egg Measurements:

Length: 65.5-82.0 mm

Width: 44.1-59.0 mm

Ø: 73.2-50.7 mm (n=180)

Egg weight: 98-104 g





Food: Large variety: fish, small mammals, insects, invertebrates, rubbis, eggs, chicken and carrion.


Longevity: no records available.


Mortality: unknown.


Threats: Losses by predators, flooding of breeding areas. Lack of resting places and breeding areas. Contamination by heavy metals and biocides, environmental toxins.