Seagulls are the birds from the Laridae family of the suborder Lari. Closely related to the terns from the Sternidae family, seagulls are distant relatives to skimmers, auks, and waders. Up until the 21st century, most seagulls were placed in the Larus genus, but that is now considered as the polyphyletic arrangement. It has led to the resurrection of many genera. Seagull's scientific name is Larus dominicanus.
Seagulls are usually grey or white in color and medium to large species in size. They have black markings on their wings and heads. Known for their squawking calls, wailing, webbed feet, and stout and longish bills, seagulls are ground-nesting carnivores that eat live food as well as scavenge opportunistically. The live food usually includes mollusks, fish, small birds, and crustaceans. Their unhinging jaws allow them to eat large prey.
Typically, this species' habitats include coastal or inland areas and rarely venture far into the sea, and can live in salt water as well as freshwater. The large species of gulls can take about four years for attaining full adult plumage whereas a small gull takes two years.
North and South America, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, Antarctica
Seagull Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a seagull?
The name ‘seagull’ has been used for describing any gray and white loud bird that is found near the sea. However, there are about 28 different seagull subspecies that are found throughout the world. Most believe that these seabirds only scavenge their food and make noise, but there is more to these seagulls, or gulls.
What class of animal does a seagull belong to?
A seagull belongs to the Aves class. They prefer scavenging for food near fishing harbors and dumpsters rather than catching one at the sea. Also, they can survive in saltwater as well as freshwater.
How many seagulls are there in the world?
There is insufficient data available on how many seagulls are there in the world.
Where does a seagull live?
Seagulls' habitats coastal towns, low-lying coastal regions, and coastal areas on cliffs. However, they can also be found inland, around parking lots and dumpsters. Seagulls are comfortable living along the shore or inland, as long as there is food available in their vicinity. They sleep on beaches or water when it is calm.
What is a seagull's habitat?
Seagull’s habitats are the coastal ecosystems that occur where the sea meets the land. It includes several habitat types such as coral reefs, mangroves, backwaters, lagoons, estuaries, seagrass beds.
Who do seagulls live with?
Seagulls live in their colonies that might consist of a couple of thousand birds or just a few pairs. They use their body language and a wide repertoire of sounds for communication. Also, this species is monogamous which means that they mate for a lifetime.
How long does a seagull live?
The lifespan of a seagull is about 20 years.
How do they reproduce?
The mating season for the seagull occurs between April and May where pairs of seagulls start courting each other. The female seagull builds a nest using straw, twigs, paper, and grass and lays 2 to 3 eggs in early May. The average incubation period is three weeks, after which the infant chicks will hatch around early June. The seagull chicks grow rapidly. They are ready for flying by August. In three years, they reach full sexual maturity.
What is their conservation status?
After the seagulls’ population dropped to a dangerous level, the bird came under the endangered species protection. Sometimes, these migratory birds nest in areas that are environmentally fragile. That is why they are legally protected in parts of Europe and North America.
Seagull Fun Facts
What do seagulls look like?
The little birds (Larus minutus) grow to an average of 11 in (27.9 cm), the size of a blackbird while the large great black-backed gulls are around 27 in (68.6 cm). The larger seagulls have long, pink legs whereas the medium and small gulls have black, red, or yellow legs. Certain subspecies of gulls are difficult to identify. Before settling into the mature coloration - white, gray, and black, the plumage of a juvenile seagull constantly morphs from different shades of patterned brows. Adult gulls often change colors during the mating season where their head feathers change to dark brown or bright white.
How cute are they?
These saltwater birds can be cute, but they are believed to be annoying in nature.
How do they communicate?
The squawks and flapping of the birds might appear chaotic at first, but they are actually a part of a communications system designed for keeping order among the species of gulls. Different types of species have different types of calls. For example, the herring gull exhibits a multitude of discernible calls whereas the Glaucous gull, mainly found in the Arctic, is credited with only two calls. All gull species have a few common characteristics of communication.
Even before the chicks have hatched from the egg, they produce a peep sounding like ‘klee-ew’. This call is for attracting their parents’ attention and inciting them to provide the chicks with regurgitated food. This sound is crucial for the existence of the chick. Parent seagulls are often heard baby-talking to the chicks using the soft vocalization of the same call. They might use this call during courtship as well. Both male and female seagulls take turns caring for the young birds and sitting on the nest.
When a female seagull is ready for mating, she makes a ‘huoh-huoh-huoh’ call in front of the male seagull and uses submissive body language. The male will then take a dominant upright stance, vocalize with similar sounds and in long mewing sounds, and arch his neck. Both sexes also use a single-note mewing call for attracting attention in different situations like feeding the chicks, displaying aggression, and approaching the nest.
Seagulls are also known to use their body language for defending their food items or nest. It usually involves strong heaving body motions, growing vocalizations, and a lowered head. Other defensive body language includes batting intruders with their wings, screaming loudly, standing tall, and chasing the interloper in the air or on land. Some species’ chicks use body language to peck their parents’ bill for inciting them to regurgitate food they can eat.
How big is a seagull?
The size of a seagull can range from the 11.4 in (29 cm) of a little gull to the 29.9 in (76 cm) of the great black-backed gull.
How fast can a seagull fly?
The most efficient loiter airspeed of a seagull is 22 mph (35.4 kph), but it can fly at a speed of 15-28 mph (24.1-45.1 kph).
How much does a seagull weigh?
The weight of a seagull can range from 0.3 lb (0.12 kg) of a little gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus) to 4 lb (1.8 kg) of the great black-backed gull.
What are the male and female names of the species?
Seagulls have no separate names for males and females.
What would you call a baby seagull?
A baby seagull is called a chick.
What do they eat?
The natural diet of a seagull consists of marine invertebrates, fish, bird eggs, rodents, insects, and worms. However, these are opportunistic feeders who will take advantage of any food source they find. They are known to eat discarded food in the garden or waste dumps. They are good for population control in the coastal ecosystem.
Are they dangerous?
Yes, the big seagull species like the herring gull or the great black-backed gull (Larus marinus) are potentially dangerous birds. They might bite, peck, or strike you while defending their nests or chicks.
Would they make a good pet?
It is illegal to keep them as a pet.
Did you know...
That some people find seagulls quite a nuisance as they threaten human safety and damage crops. Seagulls also collide with aircraft more than any other bird. They have a tendency to swoop down for snatching food while people are eating and build their nests on rooftops. Since these birds scavenge from dumpsters, they might transmit disease to humans while roosting near water reservoirs.
What's the difference between a gull and a seagull?
A seagull is one of the many white or often dark-backed birds from the Laridae family that have short legs and pointed wings whereas a gull is a seabird from the Laridae family. Many bird experts do not like the term ‘seagull’ as it doesn’t take into account the different sizes, color schemes, and shapes of gulls that are found throughout the world.
What is special about seagulls?
Seagulls are clever birds. They can remember, learn, and even pass on behaviors like stamping their feet for imitating rainfall and tricking earthworms to come out of the ground to the surface. Their intelligence can be clearly demonstrated by a wide range of feeding behaviors like following plows into the field where they know that food sources will be plentiful.
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