Larus armenicus

(last update: 7-9-2010)

Amir Ben Dov (Israel)
Mars Muusse (Netherlands)


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armenicus info
armenicus iris speckling

Larus armenicus

Filchagov, A.V. (1993): The Armenian Gull in Armenia. British Birds 86: 550-560.

Breeding biology and behaviour

The gulls at Sevan nest mainly among stones and grass, although some nests were placed under the cover of isolated bushes and at the edge of shrubs occupying part of one island. Almost all the open area of both islands was colonised by gulls. Nesting density was high, with frequently only 1-2 m between nests.

V. V. Leonovich, who visited the islands on 27th and 30th April 1990, pointed out (verbally) that egg-laying was in full swing at that time: on 27th, many pairs which had finished building had not yet laid or had incomplete clutches, and at only a few nests were eggs already being incubated; three days later, the number of nests without eggs or with incomplete clutches had obviously decreased and most pairs had full clutches of three eggs. When I visited in mid June, only two clutches were still being incubated, while the majority of nestlings were 15-25 days old. This indicates that, in 1990, the peak period of laying occurred in the last ten days of Apri1: i.e. 10-15 days later than in Black Sea and southern Caspian Sea colonies (of Yellow-legged Gulls) in years with normal weather conditions (Dyunin 1948; Kostin 1983; pers. obs.).

According to V. V. Leonovich and S. O. Petrosyan (in litt.), the average size of 113 eggs was 68.1 x 48.1 mm, and the average weight of 60 eggs at laying or shortly alter was 80.14 g. The eggs seem to be smaller than those of other gulls of the argentatus-cachinnans-complex part of the complex (see Glutz von Blotzheim & Bauer 1982; Cramp & Simmons 1983). Among all the East European and Asian forms, the subspecies heuglini and barabensis seem to be the closest to armenicus in egg size (table 1 below).


Table 1. Mean size and volume of eggs of subspecies/forms of ‘Herring Gull complex’ Larus argentatus-cachinnans-fuscus within populations of East Europe and Northern Asia
Data for taimyrensis from V. Grabovsky (in Filchagov et al. 1992); other data author’s own (for vegae, from eggs deposited in Zoological Museum of Moscow State University)
Volume is 0.51 x length x breadth2 (see Hoyt 1979); SD = standard deviation
Subspecies /
Length in mm
Breadth in mm
Mean volume
in cm3
armenicus Lake Sevan 1981, 1988
& 1990
68.1 (SD 2.3)
48.1 (SD 1.4)
80.4 (SD 6.2)
heuglini NW Kanin Peninsula 1990, 1991
70.0 (SD 3.0)
48.2 (SD 1.6)
83.0 (SD 7.4)
heuglini Ob Bay 1988
69.0 (SD 2.2)
49.1 (SD 1.3)
84.9 (SD 5.8)
barabensis Lake Saltaim,
Omsk region
70.8 (SD 2.5)
48.9 (SD 1.3)
86.6 (SD 6.0)
cachinnans Lake sarykamysh,
N Turkmenistan
71.8 (SD 2.7)
50.0 (SD 1.7)
91.9 (SD 8.2)
mongolicus Lake Baykal 1992
73.2 (SD 2.5)
50.3 (SD 1.1)
94.5 (SD 4.9)
taimyrensis NW Taimyr 1990
71.7 (SD 2.7)
49.5 (SD 2.7)
90.65 (SD 8.6)
vegae Belyaka Spit, Chukotka 1977, 1986-88
73.8 (SD 2.8)
50.75 (SD 1.3)
97.1 (SD 6.8)
argentatus Solovetskie Is., White Sea 1988
74.6 (SD 3.3)
50.1 (SD 1.6)
93.6 (SD 15.5)