Sabine's Gull

Xema sabini (Sabine, 1819) AB SABGU 5790
Family: Charadriiformes > Laridae

Sabine's Gull, Allan Drewitt

This high-Arctic breeding gull is a scarce migrant to Britain & Ireland, although much commoner in autumn than spring and on Atlantic than North Sea coasts; it is also not infrequently recorded inland.

Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Sabine's Gull

  • Breeding
  • Winter


Sabine's Gull identification is sometimes difficult. The following article may help when identifying Sabine's Gull.

related video

Identifying Kittiwake and other small gulls

Young Kittiwakes have a distinctive wing pattern, but several sought-after rarer species have similar markings - how can you tell them apart?

This video looks at several Gulls in juvenile plumage- Kittiwake, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Sabine's Gull and Ross's Gull.

Develop your bird ID skills with our training courses

Our interactive online courses are a great way to develop your bird identification skills, whether you're new to the hobby or a competent birder looking to hone your abilities.

Browse training courses

Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.



This scarcity is too rarely reported to map distribution.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2


This scarcity is too rarely reported to map distribution change.


Sabine's Gulls are scarce coastal and pelagic passage migrants, usually recorded during autumn migration, most often in September.

Weekly occurence of Sabine's Gull from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.


Lifecycle and body size information about Sabine's Gull, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.



For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Welsh: Gwylan Sabine
Catalan: gavineta de Sabine
Czech: racek Sabinuv
Danish: Sabinemåge
Dutch: Vorkstaartmeeuw
Estonian: harksaba-kajakas
Finnish: tiiralokki
French: Mouette de Sabine
German: Schwalbenmöwe
Hungarian: fecskesirály
Icelandic: Þernumáfur
Irish: Sléibhín Sabine
Italian: Gabbiano di Sabine
Latvian: škeltastes kaija
Lithuanian: žuvedrinis kiras
Norwegian: Sabinemåke
Polish: mewa obrozna
Portuguese: gaivota-de-sabine
Slovak: cajka vidlochvostá
Slovenian: lastovicji galeb
Spanish: Gaviota de Sabine
Swedish: tärnmås

Links to more information from

Would you like to search for another species?