Ivory Gull Faoileán Eabhartha Pagophila eburnea
Six county records up to the end of 2020.
2009 Baltimore Harbour, 1st winter, 3rd to 8th March. Also seen at Gujan-mestras, Gironde, France, 21 Jan – 26 Feb.
1999 Kinsale Harbour, adult, 9th to 10th January.
1980 Ballycotton, first-winter, 1st to 9th January.
1969 Ballycotton, adult, 16th October.
1913 Marina, Cork, adult male, remains picked up, 16th February. Rohu & Sons, Irish Naturalist 22: 123
1852 Bantry Bay, adult, shot, 31st January, now at Queen’s College Museum, Cork. “A Cork Man” Field 11th Dec., 1858
Global Distribution: has a near-circumpolar distribution in the Arctic seas and pack-ice, breeding from north Canada through Greenland (to Denmark), Svalbard (Svalbard and Jan Meyan Islands (to Norway) and islands off northern Russia. (Birdlife International.)
Sabine’s Gull Sléibhín Sabine Larus sabini
Scarce passage migrant, chiefly in autumn, occasional in spring.
115 county records involving 183 individual up to the end of 1993 when the species was removed from the IRBC rarities list.
Analysis of these records showed the following:
Birds were seen at the following locations:6km off Seven Heads, Ballycotton, Ballymacoda, Bantry Bay, c14 km S of Sherkin Island, Cape Clear Island (most records), Crosshaven, Dunkettle, Dursey Island, Galley Head, Garnish Point, Mizen Head, Old Head of Kinsale, Red Strand, Galley Head, Rosscarbery, Sherkin Island.
Where age was given adults and immatures were seen in roughly equal numbers.
Most records were of single birds or small groups. Highest count one day count was 8 at Cape Clear on the 15th July 1992 and 8 at Old Head of Kinsale on the 19th July 1992.
Almost all birds seen between July and October with most records in September.
Global Distribution: Breeds in the arctic and has a circumpolar distribution through northernmost North America and Eurasia. It migrates south during the autumn, wintering in the cold waters of the Humboldt current off the coast of Peru and Ecuador and off the south-west coast of Africa in the cold waters of the Benguela Current. (Birdlife International)
Black-legged Kittiwake Saidhbhéar (Dubhchosach) Rissa tridactyla
Common offshore throughout the year, and common breeding species at a number coastal sites. Occasional seen inland records, usually following severe weather.
Global Distribution: Europe, Asia, North America, Greenland and Iceland.
Bonaparte’s Gull Sléibhín Bonaparte Chroicocephalus philadelphia
22 county records up to the end of 2020.
2020 Garretstown, two adults, one on from 4th to the 17th September, one at Long Strand, Galley Head, 11th September.
2012 Lough Mahon, 1st Winter, 21st January.
2011 Cobh, 15th January to 20th February, presumed returning bird (see 2009 below).
2010 Baltimore, adult, 1st to 4th February.
2009 Cobh, an adult from the 22nd November, presumed returning individual. Stayed until 5th February 2010.
2009 Cobh and Ballybrannigan Strand, an adult from the 1st to the 20th February (Ballybrannigan on the 10th).
2008 Rosscarbery, adult, 1st December.
2008 Ballycotton, adult, 30th August.
2007 Cobh, adult, 28th to 29th December; presumed returning individual.
2007 Midleton, first-winter, 6th March.
2006 Cobh, adult, 28th December to 18th February 2007, presumed returning individual.
2006 Cobh, adult, 16th January to 18th March.
2004 Cobh, two, adults, 4th to 20th February.
2003 Mallow Sugar Factory Lagoons, first-summer, 30th July to 4th August.
2003 Douglas Estuary, another first-summer, 20th May
2003 Douglas Estuary, first-summer, 18th to 28th May.
2003 Knockgriffin, Midleton, adult, 14th to 16th January.
2000 Bantry, adult, 28th to 29th August.
1998 The Lough, Cork City, adult, 27th to 28th February.
1998 The Lough, Cork City, first-winter, 22nd February to 14th March.
1997 Dunkettle and near Blackrock Castle, adult, 15th April.
Global Distribution: This species is found in North America, breeding from western Alaska (USA) to British Columbia, and east to eastern Quebec (Canada). It winters further south to northern Mexico on the Pacific and Atlantic coast including the Caribbean. It can also be found wintering inland from Lake Erie to the valley of the Mississippi. (Birdlife International)
Black-headed Gull Sléibhín Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Resident breeding species, in small numbers, chiefly at inland sites.
Common and widespread in winter, uncommon away from breeding colonies in summer.
Global Distribution: Europe, Asia, North-eastern North America, Greenland and Iceland.
Little Gull Sléibhín Beag Hydrocoloeus minutus
Scarce passage migrant and scarce winter visitor, with most records in the autumn. Occasional records during the summer months.
Global Distribution: The Little Gull can be found breeding in northern Scandinavia, the Baltic republics and western Russia to western Siberia, in eastern Siberia, and in the Great Lakes of North America. Its distribution expands in winter to include most of the Mediterranean, Black Sea and Caspian Sea coastlines, as well as the Atlantic coast of Europe and the north-west coast of the USA. (Birdlife International)
Ross’s Gull Faoileán Ross Rhodostethia rosea
Three county records up to the end of 2020.
2014 Kinsale, adult, 9th February to 9th March.
1995 Cape Clear Island, adult, 24th February.
1985 Cobh, first-winter, 24th February.
Global Distribution: Ross’s Gull breeds in the high Arctic of North America and Siberia. It is found in north-east Siberia, Russia, from the Taymyr Peninsula to the Kolyma River, locally in Greenland (to Denmark) and irregularly in Canada. Its wintering range in Siberia expands further west and east down to the tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula, with other wintering sites including the north coast of Alaska (USA) and the south-eastern coast of Greenland. (Birdlife International)
Laughing Gull Sléibhín an Gháire Leucophaeus atricilla
24 county records involving 19 individual up to the end of 2020.
Seen in all months except December with most seen in winter.
2019 Barleycove, a 1st winter on the 24th November.
2014/15 Ballycotton, 1st Winter, 18th January to 30th April 2015.
2007 Inchydoney Bay, adult, 11th July.
2006 Ballydehob, adult, 2nd to 8th April.
2006 Cuskinny Marsh (Cork harbour), a first-winter on the 10th February.
2006 The Lough, Cork City, first-winter, 18th February to 15th April, same, Bachelor’s Quay, Cork City, 21st February; same, Lee Fields, 5th March.
2006 Rosscarbery and Owenahincha, adult, 29th January to 5th February, same individual, Ring, 28th February to 14th March.
2005 Ballycotton, first-winter, 20th to 27th November.
2005 Red Strand, Dirk Bay, 26th September.
2005 Clonakilty/Inchydoney area, first-summer, 2nd to 19th July.
2005 Cobh, first-summer, 26th June; same individual, Cork City, 29th June to 19th July, also in Galway.
2004 Lough Beg, Cork Harbour, first-summer, 10th and 11th July.
1998 Cork City Dump, second-winter, 3rd January.
1995 The Lough, Cork City, second-winter or adult, 15th January; same, Cork City Dump, 20th January; same, Douglas Estuary, 2nd April; same, Dunkettle, 4th April.
1988 The Lough, Cork City, second-winter, 23rd October to 1st November.
1984 Cobh, first-year, 25th to 29th January.
1968 Tivoli, first-year, 12th August. This was the first Irish Record.
Global Distribution: The Laughing Gull is found in North, Central and South America. It breeds year-round on the eastern coast of Mexico, and on the western coast of the three continents from North Carolina (USA) down to Venezuela including the Caribbean. It also breeds seasonally on the eastern coast of the USA from North Carolina to Maine, wintering from Mexico down to Peru, and down to the mouth of the Amazon (Brazil). (Birdlife International)
Franklin’s Gull Sléibhín Franklin Leucophaeus pipixcan
Four county records up to the end of 2020.
2006 Belgooly, adult, 31st May.
2006 Carrigaline, first-winter, 29th and 30th January; presumed same, first-winter, Rosscarbery, 12th to 26th March, presumed same as first-winter at Blackrock Castle, 22nd December 2005.
2005 Blackrock Castle, Cork City, first-winter, 22nd December.
1999 Kinsale, first-winter, 11th January. First county and fifth Irish record.
Global Distribution: This species breeds in the northern USA and central-west Canada, migrates south through Central America and winters off the west coast southern Mexico, Central America and of South America, where it is particularly common from Ecuador to Chile. (Birdlife International)
Mediterranean Gull Sléibhín Meánmhuirí Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
Small numbers can be found at most coastal sites from autumn to spring, and very small numbers of chiefly immature birds remain throughout the summer. Highest counts have always been from the Cork Harbour area, mainly Whitegate and Cobh where counts regularly reach double figures, especially in the autumn and winter.
This species is now probably best considered as an uncommon visitor. Most numerous in late Summer, Autumn and winter.
The first county record was one at Old head of Kinsale on the 5th October 1964 and there were only five records up to 1980.
Up until the species was removed from the IRBC rarities list at the end of 1985 there were only 35 county records. Since then the sightings have increased steadily.
First bred in Ireland in 1996, but no proof so far of breeding in the county. Sightings of colour-ringed individuals show that birds come here from continental Europe, especially Germany and Poland.
Global Distribution: This species breeds almost entirely in Europe, mainly on the Black Sea coast of Ukraine, with a recent spread to the northern Caucasian Plains and Azerbaijan. It also breeds at scattered localities throughout Europe, including the Netherlands, southern France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, southern England, Ireland, Belgium, Germany and Spain. It winters in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, north-west Europe and north-west Africa (del Hoyo et al. 1996). (Source: BirdLife International)
Winter Distribution 1981-84
Winter Distribution 2007-11
Summer Distribution 2008-11
Common (Mew) Gull Faoileán Bán Larus canus
Common and widespread in winter, often seen at inland sites, scarcer in summer. Small numbers breed in the west of the county.
Global Distribution: This species breeds in northern Europe, northern Asia and north-west North America. Most populations, except those in Iceland, around the North and Baltic Sea, and some off the coast of Canada migrate south. This expands its range to include the Pacific coast of North America down to Baja California (Mexico), the Pacific coast of Asia down to northern Vietnam, the Atlantic coasts of France and Portugal, the southern and eastern coasts of the Mediterranean, the entire coasts of the Black Sea and Persian Gulf, and the south coast of the Caspian Sea (del Hoyo et al. 1996). (Source: BirdLife Internatoinal)
Ring-billed Gull Faoileán Bandghobach Larus delawarensis
First county record was in 1981. This previously rare vagrant is now best considered a scarce annual visitor. Mostly encountered in autumn and winter, but can be found at any time of year.
84 county records involving 112 birds up to the end of 1993 when the species was removed form the IRBC rarities list.
Analysis of these records show:
Birds were seen at the following locatoins: Adrigole, Ballycotton, Ballymacoda, Blackrock, Broad Strand,
Cape Clear Island, Clonakilty, Cobh, Coolmain (Courtmacsharry Bay), Courtmacsharry Bay, Douglas Estuary, Dunkettle, Kinsale, Little Island, Rosscarbery, Rossleague (Great Island), The Lough (Cork City), Timoleague, Whitegate Bay.
Normally seen singly with the highest count of five at The Lough, Cork City, during the winter of 1989/90. About 50% were adults and interestingly almost all adults were seen between January and September.
Recorded in all months except June with most birds seen during the winter months.
Global Distribution: The Ring-billed Gull breeds in the USA and Canada from in north California, east Washington and interior British Columbia, across the prairie provinces, north mountains and plain states. Also from the Great Lakes east to the coast. It winters in the southern portion of its breeding range south to the Gulf Coast, Mexico, Central America, Greater and Lesser Antilles. (Birdlife International)
Lesser Black-backed Gull Droimneach Larus fuscus
Common and widespread on the coast in summer. Breeds at many coastal sites, with a bias towards the south-west, 200 nests recorded between 1998/2002.
Most migrate south to southern Europe and North Africa for the winter.
An increasing number are seen here during the winter.
Global Distribution: Europe, Asia and Iceland
Subspecies Baltic Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus fuscus
Five records – 1942, 1959, 1963, 1976 and 1993.
Subspecies Scandinavian Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus intermedius
Eight Records – 1981, 1986, 1987/88, 1992, 2000, 2002, 2003.
Herring Gull Faoileán Scadán Larus argentatus
Common all year, with highest numbers in winter. Breeds in most coastal areas, chiefly in the west.
Formerly our commonest large gull species and seen in large numbers in winter, this species has suffered an alarmingly rapid decline in numbers on both a county and national level in the last 50 years.
The northern race L.a.argentatus appears to be an occasional winter visitor.
Global Distribution: Europe, Asia and Iceland.
Yellow-legged Gull Faoileán Cosbuí Larus michahellis
Occasional migrant and winter visitor, also a few seen in late summer.
Annual in small numbers in recent years, no more than two or three in the county per year.
15 county records since first recorded in the county in 1955 up to the end of 1999 when the species was removed from the IRBC rarities list.
Analysis of these records show the following:
Birds were seen at the following locations: Ballycotton, Cape Clear Island, Clonakilty, Cork City Dump, Courtmacsherry Bay, Rosscarbery, The Lough (Cork City). One at Roscarbery in October 2013 and one in Cork Harbour in September 2015. Where the age of the bird was given there was one 2nd Summer, three 3rd Winter, one 4th Winter and the rest adults. Most records involve birds seen on one day only and birds have been seen in all months of the year except between March and June.
Global Distribution: Europe, the Middle East and north Africa. It is resident in much of southern Europe, on the coasts of the Mediterranean, Black Sea and Caspian Sea, on the Azores and Madeira, Portugal, and on the Canary Islands. Spain. Wintering grounds include the coast of south-west Asia (breeders from the steppes), most of the European coast up to Denmark and the coast of Africa from Western Sahara through to the eastern Mediterranean. (Birdlife International)
The subspecies Atlantic Yellow-legged Gull L. michahellis atlantis : Six records up to the end of 2020 with three in 2012 – a sub-adult in Rosscarbery/Owenahincha, 13th August to 9th September. A 3rd Year bird at Ring, Clonakilty, 26th August and one at Muckross (Clonakilty) on the 9th to 17th September.
Caspian Gull Faoileán Chaispeach Larus cachinnans
Two county records up to the end of 2020.
2016 Baltimore, adult, 5th February.
2007 1st Winter, Youghal Refuse Tip, 24th February to 6th March.
Global Distribution: can be found in eastern Europe, the Middle East, north-west Africa and central Asia. It is resident in much of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. It also seasonally breeds from the Black Sea, across the north of the Caspian Sea to eastern Kazakhstan, and on the central Asian steppes. Wintering grounds include the coast of south-west Asia (breeders from the steppes), the north-west coast of Africa, and around the Arabian Peninsula up to north-west India. (Birdlife International)
American Herring Gull Faoileán Scadán Mheiriceánach Larus smithsonianus
37 records up to the end of 2020 since the first county and Irish record at Cobh in November/December 1986.
Seen most years since first recorded in 1986, occasionally with multiple records in a year. Difficulties with identification of adults and near-adults cloud the species status. The regular presence of first winters indicates fresh arrivals each year.
Birds seen at the following locations: Ballycotton, Bantry, Baltimore, Castletownbere, Clonakilty, Cobh, Cuskinny, Cork City Dump, Old Head of Kinsale, Red Strand (Galley Head), The Lough (Cork City), Youghal refuse tip.
Recorded in all months except June, July and August with most records in the winter months.
Global Distribution: North America and east Asia.
Iceland Gull Faoileán Íoslannach Larus glaucoides glaucoides
Scarce winter visitor in variable numbers and lingering individuals have been recorded in every month of the year.
Global Distribution: Distribution: The Iceland Gull breeds in the Arctic regions of Canada and Greenland, and outside the breeding season can be found wintering in the northernmost states of the eastern USA as far inland as the great lakes, on Iceland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the north coast of Norway, the southern tip of Scandinavia and the northern tip of Germany. (Birdlife International)
It’s name is confusing but got its name from being first recognised as a separate species in Iceland.
The subspecies Kumlien’s Gull Faoileán Kumlien Larus glaucoides kumleini is a rare vagrant to the county with over 40 county records up to September 2022.
Thayer’s Gull Faoileán Thayer Larus thayeri
One county record up to the end of 2020. This was the first Irish and Western Palearctic record of this species.
1990 A juvenile/first-winter, The Lough, Cork City Dump and Cobh, 21st February to 5th March.
Global Distribution: Thayer’s Gull is native to North America, breeding on Arctic islands Canada and wintering on the Pacific coast from south-east Alaska (USA) to north Baja California (Mexico). (Birdlife International)
Glaucous-winged Gull Faoileán liath-sciathánach Larus glaucescens
One county record up to the end of 2020.
2016 Castletownbere, immature bird, 2nd January to 2nd May.
Global Distribution: This species ranges from northern Mexico in the Gulf of California and on the western coast of Baja California, up the Pacific coast of North America to Alaska, across the Aleutian Islands (USA) to the northern coast of Japan. Its breeding range begins on the coast of Washington (USA), through Canada and Alaska to the Commander Islands (Russia) (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (Source: Birdlife International).
Glaucous Gull Faoileán Glas Larus hyperboreus
Uncommon winter visitor with numbers varying from year to year. Lingering individuals has meant the species has been recorded in all months of the year.
Global Distribution: This species breeds in the Arctic regions of the northern hemisphere. Birds breeding in northern Europe and Asia tend to remain near the colony year-round. Breeders in North America migrate south, being found in the North Pacific from California (USA) round to the extreme south-east of Russia, off the western coast of North America down to Virginia, and the Atlantic coast of Europe down to Brittany, France including the United Kingdom and Ireland. (Birdlife International)
Great Black-backed Gull Droimneach Mór Larus marinus
Widespread and common resident breeding species, with highest counts in winter. Breeds at low density at many coastal sites.
Global Distribution: The species has a very large, trans-Atlantic distribution, being found from the Great Lakes, U.S.A. and the east coast of U.S.A. and Canada, coastal Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Svalbard, U.K., Republic of Ireland, the west coast of mainland Europe, Scandinavia, Estonia and coastal European Russia. Individuals breeding in harsher environments will migrate south, wintering on northern coasts of Europe from the Baltic Sea to southern Portugal, and down North America as far south as the Caribbean (del Hoyo et al. 1996). (Source: BirdLife International)