Facts About Pest Gulls
There are dozens of types of gulls with habitats that span much of the globe. Gulls are only informally referred to as seagulls since many gull species actually live and nest inland, but, regardless of their habitats, all species of gulls are closely related.
here are at least twenty-eight types of gull species seen in North America. These birds are fairly well distributed throughout the continent along the coastlines and at sea. Although, gulls are referred to as seagulls on a daily basis by most people, they are referred to as “gulls” in the birding society.
Gulls are no doubt some of the hardest birds to easily identify. The plumage of the juveniles of different species takes from three to four years to achieve an adult plumage. Some of the gull types have a non-breeding and a breeding plumage that change throughout the seasons. To make this even more challenging, gulls cross-breed with other types of gulls, forming hybrids that reflect the looks and characteristics of each of the parent birds.
Originally, gulls were only scavengers of the waters on lakes, rivers or oceans on the continent. Today, these same birds compete with the crows in scavenging the city parks and food outlets. Gull species range in size from the small Little Gull with an approximate body length of 12 inches and a wingspan of 24 inches, to the large Great Black-backed Gull with an approximate body length of 30 inches and a wingspan in the mid-sixties inches.
Gulls are typically medium to large birds, usually gray or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They typically have harsh wailing or squawking calls, stout, longish bills, and webbed feet. Gull species range in size from 29-76 cm. Most gulls, particularly Larus species, are ground nesting carnivores, which will take live food or scavenge opportunistically.
Live food often includes crabs and small fish. Gulls have unhinging jaws which allow them to consume large prey. Apart from the kittiwakes, gulls are typically coastal or inland species, rarely venturing far out to sea. large species take up to four years to attain full adult plumage, but two years is typical for small gulls. Gulls are resourceful, inquisitive and intelligent birds, demonstrating complex methods of communication and a highly developed social structure.