Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica is classed as Endangered in Europe (Tucker and Heath 1994, Hagemeijer and Blair, 1997), but there have been no detailed studies of the trends in the different populations occurring in Europe and Africa. Here we study the status and trends of the species in Europe and north and north-east Africa. We estimate the total population at 10,500–12,900 breeding pairs, and recognize two biogeographical populations in this region. The western population, comprising colonies in northern Europe (Denmark, Netherlands, Germany), France, Italy, Spain, and north and north-east Africa, consists of at most 6,200 pairs, 1,800 of which are in African colonies. The eastern population, comprising colonies in the Balkan Peninsula, Greece, shores of the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, and Turkey, consists of at most 6,800 pairs. Two trends were observed: a first phase from 1900 up to the mid-1970s in which the northern European populations practically disappeared; and a second phase of stabilization, or even increase, in some of the western colonies, while the eastern population continued to decline. There is a marked concentration of the species in just a few localities in the countries of the Mediterranean basin.