Morphological and genetic analyses reveal the first Mediterranean occurrence of American Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus

Salvador García Barcelona, Tereza Senfeld, Thomas Shannon, Jon Collinson, Pim Edelaar, Asier Aldalur, Gabriel Martín, Juan Luis García Mudarra, Javier Juste

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report here the first record of an American Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus in a Mediterranean coastal site (18 February–14 March 2019, Fuengirola, Malaga, S Spain). This gull was an adult bird and its identification was confirmed by a combination of mtDNA molecular analyses and morphological characters. This record furthermore stands as possibly the first ever adult bird of the ‘Niagara’ phenotype in Europe, which would indicate that it originated from the central region of USA/Canada or even from the west coast. This is the southernmost
record of an adult bird of this species in the Western Palearctic and the eleventh for the Iberian Peninsula since 1991.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages12
JournalRevista catalana d'ornitologia = Catalan journal of ornithology
Early online date1 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Special thanks are due to the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions that helped improve this manuscript. As well, many gull-lovers contributed to the funding of the analyses and the identification of this gull: Peter Adriaens, Camilo Albert, Carlos Álvarez Cros, Amaya Alzaga, David Calleja, Albert Cama, Sophie
Demian Picollet, María Fidela García, Delfín González, Aurora G. Tarodo, Antonio Gutiérrez, Ricard Gutiérrez, Pere Josa, Daniel López Velasco, Joaquín López, Ignacio A. Menéndez, Jesús Menéndez, José Luis Pacheco, Rafael Palomo, Ricardo Rodríguez, J. Antonio Salazar, Tito Salvadores, J.R. Sánchez Buga, Xabier Saralegui, J. A. Sarrión, Xabier Varela, Nacho
Vega and Montserrat Vilosa.


  • American Herring Gull
  • Cytb
  • COI
  • gene sequence
  • mtDNA
  • vagrancy


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