Sea Gulls

Names: Sea gull, gulls, mews. Taxonomy: Kingdom: Animalia; Phylum: Chordata; Class: Aves; Order: Charadriiformes; Suborder: Lari; Family: Laridae Genera

Description: Sea Gulls are probably the most famous of the sea birds. They are part of the family “Laridae” and closely related to Sternidae or “terns”, distantly related to auks, skimmers, and waders. Sea Gulls can be found ranging in size from medium to large and are often either grey or white in color with black markings on their heads and/or wings. They have stout long bills and webbed feet. They make a harsh wailing or squawking call. They are ground-nesting carnivores and are known scavengers. Their jaws are unhinging so they can consume large prey. They are long-living recorded upwards of 49 years of human year age. They nest in large densely packed noisy colonies. They lay 2-3 speckled eggs in vegetation composed nests. They are resourceful, intelligent, inquisitive, social, and complex. They socially network and fight with one another, often creating a mob and attacking or harassing predators. They have been recorded to actually have tool-use behaviours, such as the herring gull using pieces of bread as bait to catch goldfish. They have also attacked parasitically live whales landing on their backs and pecking out pieces of flesh.


Diet: Carnivorous focusing on scavenging, crabs, and small fish.



Folklore/Mythology: Originally named “mews” after the German Möwe, Danish måge, Dutch meeuw, and French mouette.


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References/Recommended Reading:

  • Website referenced 2/27/18 at
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  • Website referenced 2/27/18 at
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  • Website referenced 2/27/18 at

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area NPS, Newport, Oregon. Oregon Coastline 2013: Oregon Coast, Oregon, USA. Friday, August 3, 2013. (c) 2013: Photo by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions. More information, copy of photo, to purchase, or to obtain permission to reprint visit To follow the adventures, go to or travel tales

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