21 Amazing Facts About Seagulls (with Photos & Details)

Seagulls are a part of our lives. We see them, hear them, and sometimes even interact with them. Yet few people know much about these creatures other than the basics like they live near water or can be annoying at times. 

In this article, we will explore some amazing or surprising facts about seagulls that you may not have known before.

Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Larus
  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Laridae
  • Suborder: Lari
  • Average Length: 22.1-26.0 in (55-67 cm)
  • Average Weight: 28.2-44.1 oz (800-1270 g)
  • Average Wingspan: 53.9-57.5 in (135-147 cm)

Seagulls can live for 10-15 Years in the Wild.

The average lifespan for a seagull is 10-15 years in the wild, but there have been cases where they have lived up to 30 years old.

A Seagull can eat up to 20% of its Body Weight in Food each day.

What you may not know is that seagulls can eat up to 20% of their body weight in food each day. Since the average seagull weighs about 1.5 pounds, this means a seagull could potentially eat around 3 ounces of food every day!​​​​​​​

A Group of Seagulls is called a “Colony”.

A group of seagulls is called a “colony”. A colony consists of thousands of individual birds. These colonies are often found on the coastlines and shores, or inland in lakes, ponds, and marshes. They can also be found on farms where they feed on grain crops like wheat or corn. ​​​​​​​

seagull colony
Image by Foto-Rabe from Pixabay

Seagulls Can Fly at Speeds of Up to 30 mph.

The flight speed of seagulls has been studied by a number of scientists who have found that seagulls can achieve average flight speeds of about 23-25 mph in headwind conditions and 29-30 mph in tailwind conditions. 

Seagull droppings are called “Guano”.

Seagull droppings are called guano and are used as fertilizer for plants and crops. Guano is the excrement of seabirds, bats, and seals that live on islands or coastal areas. ​​​​​​​Guano consists primarily of nitrogen-rich ammonia salts which provide vital nutrients to the soil. ​​​​​​​

Gulls can detect food from over 3 miles away.

Gulls have an impressive sense of smell that allows them to detect the faintest trace of food from over 3 miles away. This ability to detect food is a crucial factor in the survival of many species of seagulls. This is possible because they use sensitive nerve endings called Jacobson’s organs inside their nostrils​​​​​​​.

There are over 50 species of seagulls worldwide.

There are over 50 species of seagulls worldwide. The four main types are: the common gull, the herring gull, the little gull and the yellow-legged gull. 

There are 28 types of gull species seen in North America.

Gulls are a type of bird found all over the world. There are 28 types of gull species seen in North America, and they have different colors, shapes, and sizes. Some types of gulls nest on the ground or on cliffsides while others build nests on the water’s surface. ​​​​​​​

Seagulls have incredible vision.

Seagulls have incredible vision- they can see clearly from as far away as 2 miles! This is because their eyes are set at the side of their head, giving them a panoramic view. This means that seagulls are able to spot predators coming in from all directions and fly off before it’s too late.​​​​​​​

Seagulls have excellent memories.

They have excellent memories and can remember specific people’s faces and places where food has been hidden from days ago. Seagulls also recognize other seagulls who they associate with as friends or enemies, by their calls.​​​​​​​

Seagulls mate for life.

Seagulls are monogamous- These animals spend their lives together until one dies. They mate for life and form a lifelong bond with their partner. They work as a team to find food, protect the nest, and raise chicks. The male seagull brings most of the food while the female cares for the eggs or young chicks at home.

Seagulls in nest
Image by Majaranda from Pixabay

Seagulls are found all over the world.

Seagulls are found all over the world. The birds live in every continent even Antarctica, and they are often associated with coastal regions, seaside towns, fishing villages, inland waterways and some inland locations. They are also one of the most commonly seen birds in cities. ​​​​​​​These scavengers can be seen hovering around garbage cans, docks, and parks looking for their next meal. ​​​​​​​

All seagulls fly in an erratic pattern to protect themselves.

All seagulls fly in an erratic pattern to protect themselves from predators. This behavior is called “jinking,” and the aim of it is to confuse any predator that may be pursuing them.​​​​​​​ Their patterns are unpredictable and always changing, which makes it hard for the predator such as falcons or hawks to know what they’re going to do next.

Seagulls Are Omnivores.

Seagulls feed mostly on seafood like crabs, clams, mussels, shrimps and small fish but also scavenge for scraps of human food left behind by tourists or trash cans when humans aren’t looking.​​​​​​​ They also eat various types of insects and worms as well as sea vegetation like seaweed and kelp. 

Seagulls can recognize people by their faces.

Seagulls can recognize people by their faces. Researchers found that seagulls are able to identify and remember individual people, especially those who feed them or otherwise interact with them. This is evidence that seagulls have sophisticated facial recognition abilities and may be able to distinguish between different human emotions based on body language and voices.

Herring gull on beach
Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay

The Most Common Gull in North America is the Herring Gull.

The Herring Gull is the most common gull in North America. They are found in all the lower 48 states and Canada, with their numbers only decreasing in northern parts of Alaska. This species is one of the few that can live both inland and on coastlines. ​​​​​​​

Most Gull species return to their original nest every year.

Many species of gulls have an amazing ability to return to their original nest year after year. Some gulls even return in a span of two years, which is quite impressive. These birds are so intelligent that they remember where they hatched from and can find it again with ease. Gulls also share the same nesting site for generations, which makes them more vulnerable to human disturbance and other problems.​​​​​​​

What Do Seagulls Represent in Symbolism?

The seagull is a symbol of healing, wisdom and tranquility. The belief that the seagull is a messenger from the creator has been traced back to Ancient Greece. In Native American symbolism, the seagull represents peace and prosperity, as well as emotional balance and strength in numbers.

The Smallest Seagull Species Is the Little Gull.

The smallest seagull species is the little gull. The length of this bird is 11.5-12 in (29.2-30.5 cm), and it weighs 3.5-5.29 oz (100-150 g). It has a wingspan of 24.4 inches (62 cm).

The Largest Seagull Species Is the Great Black-Backed Gull.

The largest seagull species is the great black-backed gull. They are found throughout Europe, Asia and North America. They are 25–31 in (65–80 cm) in length, a weight of 0.75–2.3 kg (1.7–5.1 lb) and a wingspan of 1.5–1.7 m (4 ft 11 in–5 ft 7 in).