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Gulls are long-winged, web-footed seabirds, the most familiar
birds of the seashore. Many species nest or feed inland, and
most of the rest are strictly coastal. Only the kittiwakes
are truly oceanic during the non breeding season.
Gulls are primarily scavengers, often gathering by the thousands at
garbage dumps and fish docks, or ships for their garbage.
Some gulls are migratory.
Gull sizes range from 11 to 31 inches.
Except for the totally white ivory gull, gulls vary from pale gray
to black above, and from white to gray below. The heads of many
have black, gray, or dark brown hoods during breeding season. Many
of the gray-winged species have black or darker gray wing tips,
often with white spots.
The genders are alike in color. The young have mottled brown or gray
plumage, taking as long as four years to attain the definitive adult
coloration through a progressive series of annual molts.
Gulls breed colonially, mostly on the flat ground of beaches,
marshes, or riverbeds, where they build simple, shallow, grass-lined nests.
Several species nest on ledges of cliffs, notably the kittiwakes.
The clutch consists of two or three greenish-brown, speckled eggs,
which take 20 to 30 days to incubate. At hatching the chicks have
down feathers, and the eyes are open. Chicks can stand but are
dependent on their parents for food and warmth. The parents
share in incubation of the eggs and in the brooding and feeding
of the chicks, which fledge between four and six weeks after hatching.
Gulls have been known to live as long as 40 years in captivity and
as long as 36 years in the wild
A seagull refers typically to any gull frequenting the sea.
Gulls belong to the family Laridae in the order Charadriiformes
Types of North American Gulls Include:
Black Legged Kittiwake
Common Black Headed Gull
Glaucous Winged Gull
Great Black Backed Gull
Lesser Black Backed Gull
Red Legged Kittiwake
Ring Billed Gull
Slaty Backed Gull
Index of North
North American Shorebirds