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Gulls or seagulls are birds in the family Laridae. They are most closely related to the terns (family Sternidae) and only distantly related to auks, skimmers, and more distantly to the waders. Until the twenty-first century most gulls were placed in the genus Larus, but this arrangement is now known to be polyphyletic, leading to the resurrection of several genera.
Gulls are typically medium to large birds, usually grey 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. 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 prophylactic 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 The large species take up to four years to attain full adult plumage, but two years is typical for small gulls. Large White-Headed Gulls are typically long-lived birds, with a maximum age of 49 years recorded for the Herring Gull.
Gulls nest in large, densely packed noisy colonies. They lay two to three speckled eggs in nests composed of vegetation. The young are precocial, being born with dark mottled down, and mobile upon hatching.
Gulls—the larger species in particular—are resourceful, inquisitive and intelligent birds, demonstrating complex methods of communication and a highly developed social structure. For example, many gull colonies display mobbing behaviour, attacking and harassing would-be predators and other intruders. Certain species (e.g. the Herring Gull) have exhibited tool use behaviour, using pieces of bread as bait with which to catch goldfish, for example. Many species of gull have learned to coexist successfully with humans and have thrived in human habitats. Others rely on kleptoparasitism to get their food. Gulls have been observed preying on live whales, landing on the whale as it surfaces to peck out pieces of flesh.
Other articles related to "gull, gulls":
... Jim Gull Stewart Gull Jim was the father of Stewart. ...
... Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) Sabine's Gull (Xema sabini) Bonaparte's Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia) Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus) Franklin's Gull (Leu ...
... A fossil gull from the Middle to Late Miocene of Cherry County, Nebraska, USA is placed in the prehistoric genus Gaviota apart from this and the undescribed Early ... Among those of them that have been confirmed as gulls, "Larus" elegans and "L." totanoides from the Late Oligocene/Early Miocene of southeast France have ...
... Saunders's Gull or Chinese Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus saundersi) is a species of gull in the Laridae family ... As many other gulls, it has traditionally been placed in the genus Larus, but based on phylogenetic work some have moved it to Chroicocephalus, while others argue it is sufficiently distinct for placement ... The Saunders's Gull is named after British ornithologist, Howard Saunders ...
... Empire Gull was a 6,458 GRT cargo ship which was built by Skinner Eddy Corp, Seattle ... To MoWT in 1941 and renamed Empire Gull ...
Famous quotes containing the word gull:
“She that but little patience knew,
From childhood on, had now so much
A grey gull lost its fear and flew
Down to her cell and there alit,
And there endured her fingers touch
And from her fingers ate its bit.”
—William Butler Yeats (18651939)
“but what can be done gull gull when you turn the sun
on again, a dead fruit
and all that flies today
is crooked and vain and has been cut from a book.”
—Anne Sexton (19281974)
“Oh Gull of my childhood,
cry over my window over and over, take me back,
oh harbors of oil and cunners, teach me to laugh
and cry again that way that was the good bargain
—Anne Sexton (19281974)