Seagulls are seabirds usually grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings.
There are approximately 50 species of gulls found throughout the world.
Seagulls can be found all over the planet including the margins of Antarctica, and are found in the high Arctic, as well.
They live primarily in coastal regions, but are also seen near bodies of fresh water.
Many species of gulls have learned to coexist successfully with humans and have thrived in human habitats.
Lifespan of seagulls depends on the species. Most seagulls have a lifespan from 10 to 15 years in the wild.
Seagull species range in size.
The smallest seagull species is the little gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus or Larus minutus), with a length of 25–30 cm (9.8–11.8 in), a wingspan of 61–78 cm (24–31 in), and a mass of 68–162 g (2.4–5.7 oz).
The largest seagull species is the great black-backed gull (Larus marinus), with a length of 64–79 cm (25–31 in), a wingspan of 1.5–1.7 m (4 ft 11 in–5 ft 7 in), and a mass of 0.75–2.3 kg (1.7–5.1 lb).
Seagull has strong body, longish bills, elongated legs and webbed feet.
Graceful on the wing and a quintessential sight when visiting the seashore, seagulls tend to fascinate us with their acrobatic antics and noisy squabbles.
While the birds’ noisy squawks and flapping at first may appear chaotic to the human eye, they’re part of a complex communication system designed to keep order among birds.
Seagulls live in colonies that consist of few pairs of birds or couple of thousands birds.
They have a strong societal structure that works very effectively against predators to their breeding colonies, as they will gang up on the intruder with up to a hundred gulls and drive them away, on occasion even driving them out to sea to drown.
Seagulls are omnivorous and eat a wide variety of foods, including fish and marine and freshwater invertebrates, both alive and already dead, terrestrial arthropods and invertebrates such as insects and earthworms, rodents, eggs, carrion, offal, reptiles, amphibians, plant items such as seeds and fruit, human refuse, chips, and even other birds.
They have been observed preying on live whales, landing on the whale as it surfaces to peck out pieces of flesh.
Seagulls can drink either freshwater or saltwater, though they prefer freshwater. They have supraorbital glands (also called nasal or salt glands) which removes sodium chloride (salt) from the bloodstream.
Seagulls are thought to be intelligent birds. Two particular observations of intelligence are their strategy development and problem solving skills. Seagulls use strategy to figure out ways to steal food from other animals. They also have found an interesting way of eating hard-shelled fish. To gain access to the meat inside the hard shelled surface, gulls fly up in the air and drop the hard-shelled fish. They also use bread crumbs to attract fish.
Seagulls prefer to sleep on a calm body of water, but will sleep in any wide-open spot.
Most seagull species are migratory, with birds moving to warmer habitats during the winter, but the extent to which they migrate varies by species.
Seagulls are monogamous creatures that mate for life and rarely divorce.
Most seagulls breed once a year and have predictable breeding seasons lasting for three to five months.
Nest building is also part of the pair-bonding. Most species of seagull build their nests on the ground, while other species build their nests on elevated areas, such as cliffs or trees.
The clutch size is generally three eggs. Both male and female seagulls take turns incubating eggs, with incubation lasting up to 26 days.
Young chicks are brooded by their parents for about one or two weeks, and often at least one parent remains with them, until they fledge, to guard them. Both parents feed the chicks, although early on in the rearing period, the male does most of the feeding and the female most of the brooding and guarding.
Young birds live in nursery flocks where they learn all skill required for independent life. They are watched over by a few adult males.
Seagulls exist on the planet at least 30 to 33 million years.
In many cultures, seagulls are symbolic of freedom, versatility and a carefree lifestyle.
In Irish and Celtic mythology, Manannan Mac Lir was a trickster and god of the sea often portrayed as a gull.
In Native American symbolism, the seagull represents a carefree attitude, versatility, and freedom.
Seagulls may be seen as spiritual messengers and are often associated with the ability to see different viewpoints.