Hello dear readers. Perhaps the most ubiquitous bird in paradise by the sea is the seagull. These birds belong to the family Laridae (gulls) and can be both medium and large in size.
And today we decided to take a closer look at this amazing sea bird.
More than 50 species of seagulls live on our planet. 21 species nest on the territory of the Russian Federation (another 5 species are vagrant).
They are found all over the planet, on every continent, including the outskirts of Antarctica. Moreover, different species live in different areas to which they have specially adapted.
This is a monogamous bird. They are characterized by the creation of one family for life. They are also excellent parents who tirelessly shower their babies with care and attention. And both fathers and mothers pay attention to their offspring. Mother and father equally actively feed and protect the cubs until they are old enough and independent. They also build a nest together, equally collecting building material for the construction of a shelter.
They can drink sea water. At the same time, not many seabirds have been given such a gift. This makes gulls one of the few categories of birds that are truly endowed with unique survival abilities.
The ability to drink sea water allows them to fly far into the sea in search of food, if the situation requires it.
When a bird drinks salt water, a pair of glands located above its eyes allows it to remove salt from its body.
They prefer to eat live food. Their favorite food is shellfish, crabs, worms, fish, insects, bird eggs, algae, etc. These birds have excellent eyesight, thanks to which they can see their prey at a great distance or in water, which gives glare from the sun’s rays.
But despite the presence of food preferences, it is, in general, an omnivorous bird. Seagulls eat not only quality food, but also garbage. What’s more, they often build their nests and breed near dumps and towns around the coast, where there is a lot of food.
Their lifespan is directly affected by what species they belong to. But in general, in the wild, they live from 10 to 15 years, which is quite a long time for a representative of egg-laying vertebrates.
The smallest member of this family is the Lesser Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus). A bird of this species reaches a length of only 25-30 centimeters, its wingspan is 61-78 centimeters, and its weight is about 68 grams.
The largest member of the family is the Sea Gull (Larus marinus). This species can be 64 to 79 centimeters long, have a wingspan of 1.5-1.7 meters, and body weight vary from 0.75 grams to 2.3 kilograms.
Although the noisy cries and flapping of birds may seem chaotic to the human eye at first, they are actually part of a coherent communication system designed to maintain order. After all, seagulls live in colonies, consisting of both several pairs and several thousand individuals.
They have a very strong social structure that works effectively against predators in their breeding colonies. When predators threaten the colony, the birds unite in a flock of up to a hundred gulls and begin to attack them. If the predator is terrestrial, they may use the tactic of driving into the water so that it ceases to pose a danger to them or even drowns.
They have been observed to prey on live whales, landing on them as they surface to peck at them.
This is a very smart bird. For example, if we talk about Heermann’s gull, then kleptoparasitic behavior is observed behind it. They regularly steal food from pelicans and other birds. These cunning birds know that before the pelican swallows its prey, it must drain the water. And while he does this with his beak ajar, the seagulls en masse grab the fish right from his mouth. As soon as the pelican drains the water from its mouth, they immediately run away and wait for a new portion.
They also learned to eat hard-shelled animals. Their way of “picking out” prey from the shell is very similar to how crows crack nuts. A seagull catches, for example, a crab, and flies with it to a great height. She then throws him down. The crab falls to the ground and its shell is broken, and the seagull willingly feasts on its meat.
Most species of gulls are migratory birds. With the onset of cold weather, they prefer to move to warmer places, and then return back.
They are excellent flyers. They have great control over thermals (mass of rising air) and wind. They also know how to navigate in a direction, especially when it comes to tight turns. In the air, they can rapidly fall and take off, as well as soar and even linger in one place.
As for their speed, they can fly at a speed of 48-50 km / h.
They have sharp claws to help them grab their prey and webbed feet to help them swim both on and under water.
These birds have a very good memory. They can remember faces of specific people and places where food was hidden a few days ago. They also recognize other seagulls, both their friends and their adversaries.
As we mentioned earlier, they can live up to 15 years in the wild. This long lifespan is due, in part, to the almost complete absence of predators. Among the main predators of seagulls, it is worth highlighting such large birds as eagles and kites. But they attack them very rarely due to the fact that the birds live in large colonies and will themselves willingly attack the same eagle in a bunch in order to protect themselves and the members of their flock.
In many countries of the world, this bird represents healing, wisdom and tranquility. In ancient Greece, for example, people believed that she was the messenger of the Creator.
This concludes our article, dear readers. Thank you for choosing our Internet resource to find out the most interesting facts about seagulls.