Audouin's Gull (Larus audouinii) admitted to the British List


 Audouin's Gull
Audouin's Gull: Dungeness, Kent. (Photo: Nigel Blake)

Audouin's Gull: Dungeness, Kent. (Photo: Marcus Lawson) Audouin's Gull: Dungeness, Kent. (Photo: Jeff Higgott)

The British Ornithologists' Union Records Committee (BOURC) has admitted Audouin's Gull (Larus audouinii) to the British List following the occurrence of a 2nd summer individual at Dungeness, Kent on 5 - 7 May 2003 (sight record, photographed).

Photographs suggest that this is the same individual that was recorded on 1 May 2003 in the Netherlands.

Audouin's Gull was formerly a rare and localised species. It is still restricted to the Mediterranean as a breeding bird, but its numbers have risen from c.1000 pairs in the early 1970s to more than 17,000 pairs by 1995. The species is partly migratory, the main winter quarters lying along the Atlantic Coast from Morocco, as far south as Senegal and Gambia. The increasing population has seen an increase in extralimital records including four records from France , plus three records from Switzerland. One of the French records was from Boulogne-sur-Mer, just across the Channel from Kent.

Research by BOURC found only two birds in captivity within Europe, both in the Zoobotanico, Jerez, Spain (held there since 1998). Incidentally, Jerez is further from Dungeness than the Ebro Delta (one of the places where Audouin's Gull has recently undergone a massive population expansion from 36 pairs in 1981 to 6,714 pairs in 1992).

With an increasing population this is an expected addition to the British List and further records can be expected.

Eric Meek, Chairman of BOURC commented, 'The BOURC was extremely impressed by the quality of the material submitted to substantiate this record. The detailed documentation together with the excellent photographs left no doubt as to the identification and, there being virtually no escape risk, the decision to admit Audouin's Gull to the British List was a straightforward one.

The British List now stands at 567 species: (Category A = 544; Category B = 14; Category C = 9).


The Natural History Museum, Tring, Hertfordshire HP23 6AP, UK
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Email: bou@bou.org.uk
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British Birds Rarities Committee

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