Seagulls, also known as gulls, are seabirds in the Laridae family. They belong to the Lari subfamily. If you’re a bit on the older side, you’ll have heard them being called mews, which comes from the German word for them. This is still quite commonplace in some dialects around the world.
Generally, seagulls are considered medium to large birds. You’ll find that their feathers are dyed with grey/white with black markings spattered across the head or wings. They are most often recognized by their piercing shrieks. Most seagulls nest on the ground, and their diet is almost entirely made up of meat. Usually, they’ll be scavenging food from the coast, however, occasionally they will hunt for crabs or small fishes.
It takes around 4 years for a gull to mature from a baby into an adult. You’ll find that most gull species are coastal, or even inland, and very rarely go into the sea. Seagulls live pretty long considering the fact they’re birds, their average lifespan in the wild is 10 – 15 years with the world record being held by a 49 year old bird.
Predators Of Seagulls
This one is quite surprising, but seagulls are often hunted by sharks, which are quite fond of meat. Because of this, when a seagull ventures a bit too far out to sea, or a bit too close to the water, this predator of seagulls might jump out and devour it. With that being said, this only really happens to those kinds of seagulls that actually go out into the sea. If you live in a coastal town without many sharks, you’ll find that it’s unlikely that they’ll get rid of the loud menace for you. On deserted islands, however, this is a fairly common thing to happen, due to there being more sharks there.
In a slightly ironic twist, one of the most common predators of a seagull is another bird, eagles. Eagles are much more capable of hunting than seagulls are. Furthermore, eagles eclipse seagulls in almost every category, making them easy pickings. Now, an eagle won’t usually swoop down into a bunch of seagulls and just grab one, but they will often go for those around the edges of the roost. These are most common in areas where there are a lot of mountains, as eagles aren’t often found near the city.
You definitely heard that the fox is the most cunning animal of all. Just to be clear, there aren’t many places that gulls and foxes run into each other, but in those that they do, it’s quite clear who preys on whom. Seagulls are mostly easy prey for foxes which is why foxes quite often engage in killing more seagulls than they can eat, and gulls have evolved a mechanism to combat this. They often inspect other gulls corpses, or even they slaughter themselves when one of them is killed. It seems quite brutal, but it works very often. Once they’re done checking it out, they’ll often make strategies on how to avoid them. This means that gulls will rarely get caught in a group.
Much like the eagles, the falcons simply eclipse the seagulls in speed, as well as size. This makes the seagulls pretty powerless against them, and not likely to avoid being killed, making falcons one of the predators of seagulls. However, eagles are still a bigger threat to seagulls than falcons. Falcons occasionally get chased away by seagulls, as they live in large groups, and might be able to fend off a falcon or two on a good day. With that being said, this is quite out of the norm, and usually, a falcon will easily get away with a seagull, which is why seagulls will always try to evade falcons and they won’t land on a beach because of falcons.
Weasels are one of the few gull predators that hunt in groups. This leaves the grounded seagulls at a severe disadvantage. They’re also incredibly crafty and cunning much like foxes. These two factors together prove that weasels are very difficult to deal with. Also, weasels have a very quick metabolism, so they are always hungry and they will never just pass something they can eat. However, a seagull can sometimes fight off a weasel, but as already said, they mostly hunt in groups. Weasels hang around gull nests very often waiting for an opportunity to hunt a seagull down or steal their eggs.
We already confirmed that birds of prey are the biggest predators of seagulls. Besides eagles and falcons, there are also hawks. It’s also very similar. Hawks are bigger faster and stronger than seagulls, so if it comes to a fight, a hawk will almost definitely end up victorious, at least as long as there is only one seagull isolated from a group. However, hawks find it risky to attack a group of seagulls and seagulls mostly go around in a group.
As for seagulls, there are not many predators that are a threat to them, so they can be considered quite safe from predators. As already said in this article, their biggest predators are birds of prey that are bigger and stronger than them, such as eagles or falcons.
As for seagulls themselves, they often steal meat from other birds. Seagulls are also very intelligent and cunning, so they sometimes throw crumbs of bread so a fish would come closer to the surface.
Even though some shark species don’t consider seagulls their main dish, some species that enjoy their meat and even feathers. Also, there are occasions where octopuses eat seagulls and some people even witnessed this event. This mostly happens when seagulls themselves are hunting or just want to drink some water (seagulls are one of the rare species that can drink salt water).
Many people don’t know that seagulls sometimes eat their babies (that phenomenon is called cannibalism), however, this is not something that happens very often.
I hope that this article on seagull predators was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Animal Facts!