Gray Gull Leucophaeus modestus Scientific name definitions

Fernando Medrano, Ignacio Escobar Gutiérrez, and Rodrigo Silva
Version: 2.0 — Published December 23, 2022


Systematics History

Originally described as Larus modestus von Tschudi, 1843, Archiv Für Naturgeschicte 9: 389 (10). Most recent authorities place this species, along with Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan), Dolphin Gull (Leucophaeus scoresbii), Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla), and Lava Gull (Leucophaeus fuliginosus), in the genus Leucophaeus (the “hooded gulls”; 11, 12, 13, 14), though some still place the species in an expanded Larus (e.g., 15). Previously thought to be most closely related to Heermann's Gull (Larus heermanni).

Geographic Variation

There is no geographic variation known.



Related Species

Gray Gull appears to be most closely related to the largely allopatric Dolphin Gull (Leucophaeus scoresbii) (11). Together, these two species appear to be sister to the clade that includes Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla), Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan), and Lava Gull (Leucophaeus fuliginosus) (11).


Unreported (16).


It is locally known as Gaviota Garuma (Chile) or Gaviota Gris (Perú, Ecuador).

Fossil History

Nothing known.

Recommended Citation

Medrano, F., I. Escobar Gutiérrez, and R. Silva (2022). Gray Gull (Leucophaeus modestus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.grygul.02