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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Distributions of the subspecies of Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus in sub-Saharan Africa

Kylin Henrik, Bouwman Henk, Louette Michel


The wintering area of the nominate subspecies of Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus fuscus is from Ethiopia across Uganda and the Congo basin to the Atlantic, while L. f. intermedius and L. f. graellsii winter in westernmost Africa. AIMS To clarify the wintering distributions of the subspecies of Lesser Black-backed Gulls. METHODS We compiled, mapped, and analysed available data on ring recoveries (269) and verified museum specimens (22) from south of latitude 25°N. RESULTS The wintering area of L. f. fuscus that is described in standard reference literature (East Africa) is incorrect; more rings have been recovered in the Congo basin and along the Atlantic coast than on the eastern seaboard. L. f. intermedius and L. f. graellsii winter mainly in westernmost Africa with some ring recoveries south and east of Senegal. There are no verifiable finds of the latter two subspecies south of the equator. Ring recoveries suggest leapfrog migration. CONCLUSIONS We have updated the distribution of L. f. fuscus , L. f. intermedius and L. f. graellsii in sub- Saharan Africa and found it to be different from previous authorities. We hypothesize that climate change will have a larger effect on the distributions of L. f. intermedius and L. f. graellsii than on L. f. fuscus in this region


Bird migration; ringing; bird banding; EURING

Published in

Bird Study
2011, Volume: 58, number: 2, pages: 186-192

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    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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