Name: Saunders’s Gull
Scientific name: Saundersilarus saundersi
Conservation status: IUCN - IUCN - Vulnerable, CMS - Appendix I

Saunders’s Gull is a type of seabird, yet it is more associated with coastal wetlands. It is only found in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, and is mainly distributed within the East Asia region. Its small population is declining due to habitat loss.


Saunders’s Gull is a small seabird with body size 29-32cm in length. Its body is covered with greyish upperpart feathers, underwing primary feathers tips black patch with white edges. It has a short pointed black bill. Legs are in reddish-orange with partially webbed feet.

In breeding plumage, it has black head and nape with white crescents around eyes. The black head turna white with grey marks around neck and behind eyes in non-breeding season.

Distribution range

*This interactive map was produced by EAAFP Seabird Working Group and EAAFP Secretariat.

Breeding grounds: breeds alongside the Yellow Sea coast, from Jiangsu to Liaoning of China east coast, and sporadically on west coast of Korea Peninsular.

Wintering ground: In eastern and southern China, and along west and south coast of Republic of Korea and south-western Japan. Also reaches to northern coast of Vietnam.


Breeding ground of Saunders’s Gull in Incheon, Ro Korea © Vivian Fu/EAAFP

Primarily a coastal species. Breeding habitat is restricted to common seepweed saltmarshes. Inhabit estuarine and coastal tidal flats in non-breeding season.

Population estimate

Global estimated population: minimum 14,400 mature individuals

Main threats

Habitat loss and degradation of tidal flat and saltmarshes due to reclamation and land-use change, especially at the sites with seepweed in breeding grounds; Pollution and invasive species, human disturbance such as egg collection.

How you can help

  • There is a lack of knowledge about the species, including its distribution and the factors causing its decline. Please support us to do studies, surveys, report sightings of the species and record the sites.
  • Wetland clean up
  • Do not disturb Saunders’s Gull in wetlands especially at breeding grounds
  • Protect and with sustainable and effective management of the sites used by Saunders’s Gull
  • Help to promote the conservation of Saunders’s Gull
  • Donate and support EAAFP’s work

Learn more about Saunders’s Gull


Click [here] to download the Saunders’s Gull Factsheet. All Copyrights Reserved.