If you’ve ever seen a seagull in person, you’ll know just how much personality these seabirds have.
As is true of all wildlife, seagulls are fascinating creatures.
Here are some interesting facts about these boisterous birds!
Some facts about Seagull Anatomy
- The smallest of the species can grow to 11.5 inches and reach 4.2 ounces.
- Larger species reach up to 30 inches and 3.8 pounds.
- Almost all seagulls flaunt clean, white plumage. The tips of their wings, however, are darker if not black in color. There are some species that are completely white or gray.
- Seagulls have strong, sturdy bodies. Their legs are elongated, and their feet are webbed. Their bright yellow beaks are usually yellow in color.
Some Interesting Attributes and Behavioral Facts about Seagulls
Beyond their physical description, seagulls embrace a variety of attributes and behaviors that truly set them apart.
Let’s take a look.
Segulls Are Monogamous
That’s right. Seagulls mate for life. They become doting parents who don’t tire of showering their offspring with care and attention.
They share a truly equal partnership.
Both parents are involved when it comes to incubation. The mother and the father are also equally active to feed and protect the young until they’re old enough to be independent.
Couples build nests together. They gather plant material for the purpose.
Seagulls’ nests are cup-shaped and can be found either on land or atop cliffs that are hard to reach.
Their Breeding Colonies Are Almost Impossible to Infiltrate
The social framework within which they function is solid, and they all get together to corner any intruders who dare encroach upon their colonies.
In some cases, predators have been known to drown.
Seagull colonies vary in size. While some colonies comprise a few birds, others consist of thousands of seagulls.
Within larger breeding colonies, couples that are breeding also make sure to protect their nest and territory from other seagull couples.
They Can Drink Saltwater
Not many seabirds can do this. This makes seagulls one of the very few in the category to actually survive doing so.
This works out well for them because it means they can fly way out to sea to forage for food if the situation calls for it.
When seagulls drink salt water, a pair of glands above their eyes helps remove the salt from their system.
Once the salt is flushed, it leaves their body through the nostrils. So it’s not so much as salt stays in their system; nature has given them the ability to do so.
They Have Sharp Vision
Compared to humans, seagulls have amazing eyesight.
When it comes to their winged counterparts, they have the ability to move their eyes within the sockets. Not many birds can claim the same.
They Are Great Fliers
Seagulls have great control over thermals and wind. They also know how to navigate direction, especially when it comes to making sharp turns.
When airborne, they can dive and climb like nobody’s business. They can even hover in the air, motionless.
This is the degree to which they understand how to get the wind to work in their favor.
This neat little trick is especially helpful to them when they’re on the lookout for prey, and need to get a clear view of what’s below them in the water.
To the onlooker, their flying skills are a treat to watch. If you live near a beach and it’s a windy day, head on over and catch a free show!
They Are Intelligent
Proof of this is the fact that seagulls have highly developed methods of feeding.
One example is how when they catch clams or other creatures with a hard shell. They drop them onto rocky surfaces in order to open them up.
To attract fish, they use breadcrumbs. To get earthworms to crawl out of the ground, they use their feet to emulate the sound of rain.
Seagulls use a creative approach to hunting and one that they teach their offspring as well.
This further demonstrates how seagulls are also adept at sharing knowledge and passing useful information to others in their colony.
Depending on the prey and their natural habitat, a flock of these seabirds will customize its hunting behavior.
They Communicate Effectively
Seagulls have an intricate and sophisticated system through which they communicate.
It involves an extensive range of gesticulations or body movements, along with varying vocalizations.
While their noisy squawks might sound obtrusive to human ears, they’re an integral part of how they communicate with each other.
They Are Omnivores
Seagulls are omnivores. They feed on small rodents, amphibians, earthworms, insects, carrion, eggs, offal, and reptiles.
They also eat fruit, seeds, and any food humans leave unattended!
These seabirds love freshwater and marine invertebrates so much that it doesn’t matter to them whether they’re alive or dead.
As morbid as it sounds, they have cannibalistic tendencies. They sometimes eat younger seagulls.
They Are Kleptomaniacs
While such tendencies pertain to all seagulls in general, they are especially characteristic of Heermann’s Gull.
They are absolutely relentless, and are not above stealing from other seabirds.
This behavior can be observed by passersby and other onlookers.
Sometimes, when pelicans are busy looking for food, these seagulls casually gravitate over to them, waiting for the right moment to swoop.
An ode to their intelligence, seagulls wait as pelicans get ready to drain water from their beaks right after they’ve fished out their prey. This is the time when seagulls try to grab a part of the fish.
Seagulls are also great at stealing the catch of other birds while they are flying!
If they can’t manage to do so, they will resort to annoying the bird in question so that it is forced to drop their catch.
Seagulls, of course, will dart downwards to catch the fish before it hits the water. We already know what great fliers seagulls are, so to them, this is a cinch.
Miscellaneous Facts and Questions About Seagulls
As mentioned, seagulls host an array of different traits that make them stand out in the natural world.
Here are some more fun facts.
They Conserve Energy
Many seagulls know just how to conserve their energy.
They do this by hovering above bridges. This helps them absorb the heat that rises from roadways.
How Many Species of Seagull Are There?
Seagulls are a kind of seabird.
There are 20 different species that we know of.
Where Do Seagulls Live?
Apart from populating coasts and islands, they are found in North and South America, as well as Europe, the Caribbean, and Australia.
Seagulls can even be found in the Arctic and Antarctica!
Interestingly enough, some seagulls live in deserts and other habitats far from natural sources of water.
Where Do Seagulls Sleep?
These birds love to sleep on calm bodies of water, but can make do with any spot that’s open and wide enough.
Do Seagulls Migrate?
Yes. The majority of seagulls migrate, but how often they migrate differs across species.
They Are the State Bird of Utah
The reason behind this is quite interesting. Seagulls helped Mormon settlers fight off a plague of crickets when they arrived in Salt Lake City.
This event is part of national history and is called the “Miracle of the Gulls.”
Which Animals Prey On Seagulls?
There are quite a few predators to name. Weasels, foxes, and sharks are among the creatures that prey on seagulls.
There are also some winged predators such as eagles, falcons, and hawks. Winged predators pose quite a threat because they can catch seagulls in-flight.
How Many Eggs Do Seagulls Lay?
The number of eggs laid depends on the species. Females are able to lay between 1-3 eggs.
They are olive green or dark brown in color. The incubation period spans about 22-26 days.
When the young ones hatch, they become part of nursery flocks. Here, they pick up the skills they need to be independent and old enough to start breeding.
These flocks are not left unattended; adult seagulls watch over them.
How Long Do They Live?
This varies across species, but most seagulls can easily live up to 15 years in the wild.
To Native Americans, seagulls are a symbol of freedom, versatility, and a happy-go-lucky outlook on life.
They are also considered to be spiritual messengers. Moreover, they bear association with the wisdom to understand differing points of view.
In Mythology In Celtic and Irish mythology, there is mention of a trickster named Manannan Mac Lir, who is represented by a seagull.
Why Seagulls Are Considered a Nuisance
This is because seagulls are loud, leave behind a lot of excrement, and even wreck properties.
Seagulls are a lot of fun, especially if you’re a fan of bird-watching.
Because these birds are packed with energy, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. Even if you’re a fan of all things nature, no one will blame you if you confess to appreciating seagulls from a safe distance.
Whatever the case may be, however, they are truly wondrous, intelligent creatures that manage to inspire awe!
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