The Lava Gull is restricted to the Galapagos Archipelago, where it is found in small numbers on various rocky and sandy coasts. It is also perhaps the gull species with the smallest world population of any. The entire population is estimated to be approximately 1000 individuals, a tiny population for any bird let alone a gull. However, it is very widespread on the islands, being found on all major and sometimes minor islands except Darwin and Wolf. The population centers are the towns of Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz), Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristóbal), and Puerto Villamil (Isabela). One detailed survey of Santa Cruz Island found only 40 individuals suggesting that the population may in fact be smaller than the suspected 1000 individuals. It appears that this species is not strongly colonial, with nests being found here and there, and not concentrated in any one specific place. While the population is tiny, there appears to be no imminent threat to this species, it always has been a low density and widespread species on the archipelago. As an adult this is a handsome gull.