Mediterranean Gull (L. melanocephalus)

(last update: June 11, 2012 )

Mediterranean Gull colony at Babin Island, Ukraine.

Craddle for the entire European population, Babin Island held most of the world's population of Med Gulls just a few decades ago. Some photo impressions by D. Chernjakov.

Since the 1930s, the main Med Gull colonies were located in the N.P. Chernomorskyi Tendra Bay (Black Sea) on the northwest coast of the Black Sea in the south-western Ukraine. Since the 1970's, this reserve hosted almost all of the world population of the species. After reaching a maximum of 336.000 pairs in 1983, the population of the Bay of Tendra fluctuated extremely. The current population is at a much lower level with 60.000 pairs in 1994.

International situation: The origin of the species were long edges of marshes along the Black Sea. The species was threatened with extinction after the war, with only 6200 pairs in 1952. What followed can only be described as an explosion of the population, with already 42.000 pairs in 1957 and 336.000 in 1985. The species arrived in Hungary in 1940 and also in Austria; the Netherlands in 1959; Belgium in 1964; Britain in 1968; Italy in 1978; and Spain in 1987.
Source: Proceedings of the 1st international meeting on mediterranean gull, Le-Portel, Pas de Calais, France, 4-7 September 1998.