Galapagos Lava Gull Bird

The Lava Gull (Larus fuliginosus) is a large gull, probably related to the Laughing Gull. One of the rarest gulls in the world, the entire population is endemic to the Galapagos Islands and is estimated at 400 pairs. Adult Lava Gull characteristics are a black head, black wings and with a dark grey body and a paler grey belly. Their bill and legs are black and the inside of the mouth is scarlet.

Lava Gulls are quite often seen as they frequently emit long raucous gull-like calls with their bills wide open. They have white upper and lower eyebrows, with red lids. Young gulls are generally dark brown in colour.

Lava Gulls are solitary nesters, laying two olive-coloured and well-camouflaged eggs that take 30 days to incubate. Young birds fledge at 60 days and are cared for by adults for a short period.

Lava Gull

Lava Gulls are omnivores like most Larus gulls, generally scavenging or stealing from nests, but they will also catch fish, small crustaceans and newly-hatched lizards, iguanas and turtles. Being scavengers, young Lava Gulls are more naturally self-sufficient than some species with more specialized feeding habits.

The Lava Gull is categorized as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red List because it exists in small numbers and though the population is stable, it faces numerous threats.