This species was discovered in 1929 and was classified as a subspecies of the Mediterranean gull, Larus melanocephalus, but was reclassified as a separate species in 1971 (7). A social bird, the relict gull roosts, feeds and nests in colonies (7), but rarely associates with other gull species (6). It feeds on midge larvae, small fish, and leaves in the breeding season and small crabs during the winter (7).
The relict gull is fastidious about its nesting sites, changing site each year (7), and failing to breed if the water level surrounding the nest-islands is too low or too high (2). They lay between one and four eggs each year if conditions are suitable (7).