name = Gulls

image_width = 250px
image_caption = Black-headed Gull
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Charadriiformes
subordo = Lari
familia = Laridae
familia_authority = Vigors, 1825
subdivision_ranks = Genera
subdivision = "Larus"

Gulls (often informally Seagulls) are birds in the family Laridae. They are most closely related to the terns (family Sternidae) and only distantly related to auks, and skimmers, and more distantly to the waders. Until recently, most gulls were placed in the genus "Larus", but this arrangement is now known to be polyphyletic, leading to the resurrection of several genera.

They 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. They have stout, longish bills, and webbed feet. Gull species range in size from the Little Gull, at 120 g (4.2 oz) and 29 cm (11.5 inches), to the Great Black-backed Gull, at 1.75 kg (3.8 lbs) and 76 cm (30 inches).

Biology and habits

Most gulls, particularly "Larus" species, are ground nesting carnivores, which will take live food or scavenge opportunistically. The live food often includes crabs and small fish. 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.

Gulls nest in large, densely packed, and 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 from birthcite book |editor=Forshaw, Joseph|author= Harrison, Colin J.O.|year=1991|title=Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds|publisher= Merehurst Press|location=London|pages= 109-111|isbn= 1-85391-186-0] .

Gulls—the larger species in particular—are resourceful and highly 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. [Alcock, J. (1998) Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach (7th edition). Sinauer Associates, Inc. Sunderland, Massachusetts. ISBN 0-87893-009-4] In addition, certain species (e.g. the Herring Gull) have exhibited tool use behaviour. 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. The urban gull population in the United Kingdom has been growing quickly, probably due to laws such as the Clean Air Act 1956 which prohibited the burning of garbage by local landfill owners, thus increasing the availability of food for the gulls [] [] .


The taxonomy of gulls is confused by their widespread distribution and geneflow leading to zones of hybridization. Some have traditionally been considered ring species, but recent evidence suggest this assumption is questionable. [Liebers, Dorit; de Knijff, Peter & Helbig, Andreas J. (2004): The herring gull complex is not a ring species. Proc Biol Sci. 271(1542): 893-901.] Until recently, most gulls were placed in the genus "Larus", but this arrangement is now known to be polyphyletic, leading to the resurrection of the genera "Ichthyaetus", "Chroicocephalus", "Leucophaeus", "Saundersilarus" and "Hydrocoloeus".Pons J.-M. ; Hassanin A. ; Crochet P.-A.(2005) Phylogenetic relationships within the Laridae (Charadriiformes: Aves) inferred from mitochondrial markers. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 37(3):686-699.] Some English names refer to species complexes within the group:

* Large white-headed gull is used to describe the 18 or so Herring Gull-like species from California Gull to Lesser Black-backed Gull in the taxonomic list below.
* White-winged gull is used to describe the 4 pale-winged, High Arctic-breeding taxa within the former group; these are Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, and Kumlien's Gull.

Hybridisation between species of gull occurs quite frequently, although to varying degrees depending on the species involved (see Hybridisation in gulls). The taxonomy of the large white-headed gulls is particularly complicated.

In common usage, members of various gull species are often referred to as "sea gulls" or "seagulls". This name is used by the layman to refer to a common local species or all gulls in general, and has no fixed taxonomic meaning.

The American Ornithologists' Union combines Sternidae, Stercorariidae, and Rhynchopidae as subfamilies in the family Laridae, but recent research [Paton, Tara A. & Baker, Allan J. (2006): Sequences from 14 mitochondrial genes provide a well-supported phylogeny of the Charadriiform birds congruent with the nuclear RAG-1 tree. "Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution" 39(3): 657–667. DOI|10.1016/j.ympev.2006.01.011 (HTML abstract)] [Paton, T. A.; Baker, A. J.; Groth, J. G. & Barrowclough, G. F. (2003): RAG-1 sequences resolve phylogenetic relationships within charadriiform birds. "Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution" 29: 268-278. doi|10.1016/S1055-7903(03)00098-8 (HTML abstract)] [Thomas, Gavin H.; Wills, Matthew A. & Székely, Tamás (2004): A supertree approach to shorebird phylogeny. "BMC Evol. Biol." 4: 28. doi|10.1186/1471-2148-4-28 [ PDF fulltext] [ Supplementary Material] ] indicates that this is incorrect.

List of species

This is a list of gull species, presented in taxonomic sequence.

"'Genus "Larus"
*Pacific Gull, "Larus pacificus"
*Belcher's Gull, "Larus belcheri"
*Olrog's Gull, "Larus atlanticus"
*Black-tailed Gull, "Larus crassirostris"
*Heermann's Gull, "Larus heermanni"
*Common Gull or Mew Gull, "Larus canus"
*Ring-billed Gull, "Larus delawarensis"
*California Gull, "Larus californicus"
*Great Black-backed Gull, "Larus marinus"
*Kelp Gull, "Larus dominicanus" (called "Southern Black-backed Gull" or "Karoro" in New Zealand)
** Cape Gull, "Larus dominicanus vetula"
*Glaucous-winged Gull, "Larus glaucescens"
*Western Gull, "Larus occidentalis"
*Yellow-footed Gull, "Larus livens"
*Glaucous Gull, "Larus hyperboreus"
*Iceland Gull, "Larus glaucoides"
** Kumlien's Gull, "Larus glaucoides kumlieni"
*Thayer's Gull, "Larus thayeri"
*Herring Gull, "Larus argentatus"
*Heuglin's Gull, "Larus heuglini"
*American Herring Gull, "Larus smithsonianus"
*Yellow-legged Gull, "Larus michahellis"
*Caspian Gull, "Larus cachinnans"
*East Siberian Herring Gull, "Larus vegae"
*Armenian Gull, "Larus armenicus"
*Slaty-backed Gull, "Larus schistisagus"
*Lesser Black-backed Gull, "Larus fuscus"
*Saunders' Gull, "Larus saundersi"

"'Genus "Ichthyaetus"
*White-eyed Gull, "Ichthyaetus leucophthalmus"
*Sooty Gull, "Ichthyaetus hemprichii"
*Great Black-headed Gull, "Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus"
*Audouin's Gull, "Ichthyaetus audouinii"
*Mediterranean Gull, "Ichthyaetus melanocephalus"
*Relict Gull, "Ichthyaetus relictus"

"'Genus "Leucophaeus"
*Dolphin Gull, "Leucophaeus scoresbii"
*Laughing Gull, "Leucophaeus atricilla"
*Franklin's Gull, "Leucophaeus pipixcan"
*Lava Gull, "Leucophaeus fuliginosus"
*Gray Gull, "Leucophaeus modestus"

"'Genus "Chroicocephalus"
*Silver Gull, "Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae"
*Red-billed Gull, "Chroicocephalus scopulinus"
*Hartlaub's Gull, "Chroicocephalus hartlaubii"
*Brown-hooded Gull, "Chroicocephalus maculipennis"
*Gray-hooded Gull, "Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus"
*Andean Gull, "Chroicocephalus serranus"
*Black-billed Gull, "Chroicocephalus bulleri"
*Brown-headed Gull, "Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus"
*Black-headed Gull, "Chroicocephalus ridibundus"
*Slender-billed Gull, "Chroicocephalus genei"
*Bonaparte's Gull, "Chroicocephalus philadelphia"

"'Genus "Saundersilarus"
*Saunders' Gull, "Saundersilarus saundersi"

"'Genus "Hydrocoloeus"
*Little Gull, "Hydrocoloeus minutus"

"'Genus "Rhodostethia"
*Ross's Gull, "Rhodostethia rosea"

"'Genus "Rissa"
*Black-legged Kittiwake, "Rissa tridactyla"
*Red-legged Kittiwake, "Rissa brevirostris"

"'Genus "Pagophila"
*Ivory Gull, "Pagophila eburnea"

"'Genus "Xema"
*Sabine's Gull, "Xema sabini"

"'Genus "Creagrus"
*Swallow-tailed Gull, "Creagrus furcatus"


The Laridae are known from fossil evidence since the Early Oligocene, some 30-33 mya. A fossil gull from the Middle to Late Miocene of Cherry County, USA is placed in the prehistoric genus "Gaviota" ; apart from this and the undescribed Early Oligocene fossil, all prehistoric species were tentatively assigned to the modern genus "Larus". 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 since been separated in "Laricola" .




* Grant, Peter J. (1986) "Gulls: a guide to identification" ISBN 0-85661-044-5
* Howell, Steve N. G. and Jon Dunn (2007) "Gulls of the Americas" ISBN 0-618-72641-1
* Olsen, Klaus Malling & Larsson, Hans (1995): "Terns of Europe and North America". Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-4056-1

External links

* [ Rudy's Gull-index] : Pictures of less well-known plumages of large gulls
* [ Gull videos] on the Internet Bird Collection

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать реферат

Look at other dictionaries:

  • güllələnmə — «Güllələnmək»dən f. is …   Azərbaycan dilinin izahlı lüğəti

  • güllələşmə — «Güllələşmək»dən f. is …   Azərbaycan dilinin izahlı lüğəti

  • güllənmə — «Güllənmək»dən f. is …   Azərbaycan dilinin izahlı lüğəti

  • Gull — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Clemens Gull (* 1969), österreichischer Informatiker und Autor Erhard Gull (1895 1970), Schweizer Architekt, Sohn von Gustav Gull Eric Gull (* 1973), argentinisch Schweizer Handballspieler Gustav Gull… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gull — Gull, n. [Of Celtic origin; cf. Corn. gullan, W. gwylan.] (Zo[ o]l.) One of many species of long winged sea birds of the genus {Larus} and allied genera. [1913 Webster] Note: Among the best known American species are the herring gull ({Larus… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • gull — gull·able; gull; gull·ibil·i·ty; gull·ible; gull·ish; gull·ery; …   English syllables

  • Gull — f Scandinavian: pet form of the various women s names of Old Norse origin containing the first element guð god. It has also been associated with gull gold, and is now much used in Swedish compound names such as Gull Britt, Gull Lis, and Gull Maj …   First names dictionary

  • GULL — (Heb. שַׁחַף; AV cuckow, JPS sea mew ), bird mentioned in the Bible as prohibited as food (Lev. 11:16; Deut. 14:15), the Hebrew name means thin or swift of movement and, on the basis of its rendering as λάρος in the Septuagint, refers to the gull …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Gull — (g[u^]l), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Gulled} (g[u^]ld); p. pr. & vb. n. {Gulling}.] [Prob. fr. gull the bird; but cf. OSw. gylla to deceive, D. kullen, and E. cullibility.] To deceive; to cheat; to mislead; to trick; to defraud. [1913 Webster] The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Güll — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Friedrich Güll (1812–1879), deutscher Dichter Martin Güll (* 1953), bayerischer Politiker (SPD) Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselben Wort bezeic …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gull — Gull, n. 1. A cheating or cheat; trick; fraud. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. One easily cheated; a dupe. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”