We're celebrating the world's gulls! Today we are sharing some FAQs about gulls.

Why do gulls stand on one leg?
Gulls aren't the only birds that stand on one leg. Many species exhibit this behavior, and the reason usually has to do with regulating body temperature. Feathers on a bird's body help to keep it warm in cold temperatures, but when the legs are unfeathered, as in gulls, the bird can lose precious body heat through the exposed skin. Keeping one leg tucked under body feathers while standing on the other helps the bird to keep warm.

Birdorable Ring-billed Gull standing on one leg

Why are gull wingtips often black or dark?
Melanin is a natural pigment found in animals; it occurs in mammals, birds, reptiles, and other organisims. However, melanin isn't just about color. Melanin can also strengthen. The melanin in the wingtips of a bird helps to protect the feathers from wear and tear. And it also makes them black. Besides gulls, many raptor species have black wingtips, and some otherwise all-white birds like White Ibises, Snow Geese, American White Pelicans, and Wood Storks also have black wingtips.

Why do gulls stamp their feet?
It is thought that gulls tap their feet to imitate falling rain. The sensation of incoming rain "tricks" earthworms or other subterranean creatures to come to the surface to avoid drowning. When the worms reach the surface, they become an easy meal for the clever gull. This kind of "worm stomping" is the original "rain dance"!

What is the difference between a gull and a seagull?
Gull is the common name given to seabirds in the family Laridae. Often these birds are referred to as seagulls, but the term is not used by most biologists or ornithologists. The most common gull in Australia, the Silver Gull, is often called "seagull" by locals. But in taxonomical terms, there is no such bird as a seagull.

Do gulls have webbed feet?
Yes, gulls have webbed feet. Though some gulls live inland and may spend a lot of time away from large bodies of water, many gulls spend much of their time in and around water. Having webbed feet helps them maneuver efficiently in the water. However, this adaptation does limit their ability to carry items with their feet.

Webbed feet on a gull

What is special about gull jaws?
Gulls are opportunistic feeders, meaning they are able to take advantage of a huge variety of food items. They may hunt for live prey, they might steal food from others, or they might scavange scraps from garbage dumps or dead animals (carrion). Something that helps them take the most advantage of eating opportunities is the fact that they have unhinging jaws. This gives them the ability to consume very large items.

What is the collective noun for gull?
A collective noun is used to name a group of something. A group of birds is commonly known as a flock. A group of crows is a murder, a group of finches is a charm, and a group of geese is a gaggle. What about gulls? A group of gulls is known as a colony.

Do you have any other questions? Let us know in the comments below or go to our Meet the Birds area and learn about each of our Birdorable gulls. And don't forget to check out our cute gull gifts. Here are some samples below.

A Colony of Cute Gull Gifts

We're celebrating the gulls of the world this week! These social, intelligent birds can be found all over the world. Today we're sharing some fun gull coloring pages!

Gulls tend to have a lot of black, white, and grey in their plumage. The breeding plumage Ross's Gull, for example, is pale grey above and white below. They also develop a pink wash to the breast that is absent other parts of the year. Their feet and legs are red! Heermann's Gull has a different look from other gulls. The body is grey with black-to-grey wings and a red bill with a black tip. We've also included a coloring page of the famous Lesser Black-backed Gull Pierre, who is wearing his distinctive green color band.

 

Direct links to the coloring pages:

Find more coloring pages for other species on our free coloring page downloads. And be sure to check out the color schemes for these and all of our birds by visiting the Meet the Birds section of our site.

Cute Birdorable Gull Gifts

F05 Lesser Black-backed Gull

Pierre at Daytona Beach Shores in Florida

We're celebrating the world's gulls this week! Join us as we highlight these social and intelligent birds. Today we'd like to tell you about a special individual bird.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls generally breed across northern parts of Europe and Asia. In the winter they move down across Europe and into parts of Africa, the Middle East, and southeast Asia. A portion of the population is also found wintering along the Atlantic coast of North America each year.

One exception to the rules is a particular Lesser Black-backed Gull who was first seen at a nest site on Appledore Island in Maine back in the spring of 2007. The Lesser Black-backed Gull (LBBG) was apparently tending a nest with a Herring Gull. This discovery was only the second time a LBBG was known to breed in North America, and a first record for the Atlantic coast.

During the following spring, both the LBBG and its Herring Gull mate were banded by Dr. Julie Ellis's scientific study team. The Lesser Black-backed Gull was given a green color band with the code F05. The pair returned to the nesting area again in 2009, when observation of the pair together revealed the LBBG to be a male bird.

In January of 2009, F05 was discovered wintering on the Atlantic coast of Florida in Daytona Beach Shores, which is not far from Birdorable Headquarters. This location is known for having the largest winter gathering of gulls in North America. Picking out F05 couldn't have been an easy task!

Gulls at Frank Rendon Park
Lots of gulls on the beach at Daytona Beach Shores, Florida (photo by Amy Evenstad)

F05, also sometimes known by the name "Pierre", continued to be observed in Daytona Beach Shores the following winters. However, during the 2012 breeding season, F05 was not found at his normal nesting grounds. Gulls tend to be faithful to their nesting sites, so it was presumed that F05 had perhaps died. But the old gull was again found to be wintering in Daytona Beach Shores during the winter of 2012-2013. Where he spent the summer is a mystery. However, F05 returned to Appledore in the spring of 2014.

Lesser Black-backed Gull
F05 in February 2013 (photo by Amy Evenstad)

This winter, F05 is again spending his time in Daytona Beach Shores. Time will tell if he again returns to Appledore in the spring for another nesting season. Lesser Black-backed Gulls start breeding at age four. Since he was first seen as an adult in 2007, F05 must be at least 12 years old as of the coming spring.

F05 returns!
F05 in January 2015 (photo by Amy Evenstad)

This week, we're celebrating the gulls of the world! Join us as we highlight these social and intelligent birds. Today we're talking about how some gulls got their common names.

Of the approximately 55 recognized species of gull in the world, at least 12 of them take their common name from an historical figure. So just what does it take for a person to have a gull named after him?

Audouin's Gull is found around the Mediterranean and northwestern Africa. The species was named for the French naturalist Jean Victoire Audouin. Besides birds, Audouin also studied insects, reptiles, and mollusks. In addition to the gull, he had a fungus, Microsporum audouinii, named after him.

Belcher's Gull, also known as the Band-tailed Gull, is found on the Pacific side of South America. This species was named for the British naval officer and explorer Admiral Sir Edward Belcher. The Admiral traveled to and surveyed the habitat of his future namesake gull early in his career.

Charles Lucien Bonaparte with Birdorable Bonapart's gull

Bonaparte's Gull is a small species of gull found across parts of North America. The gull was named for the French biologist and ornithologist Charles Lucien Jules Laurent Bonaparte. The scientist was the nephew of Emperor Napoleon. On his voyage to the United States in the 1820s, he discovered the first specimen of what would come to be called Wilson's Storm Petrel.

John Franklin with Birdorable Franklin's Gull

Franklin's Gull is a small "black-headed" gull that breeds across parts of North America and winters in the Caribbean and South America. It was named for the British Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. The first specimen of the Franklin's Gull was collected on his 1823 expedition to the Arctic.

Hartlaub's Gull, also known as the King Gull, is found along the Atlantic coast of southern Africa. The bird was named for the German physician and ornithologist Karel Johnan Gustav Hartlaub. Hartlaub's Bustard and Hartlaub's Duck are also named for this German scientist.

Heermann's Gull is found on the Pacific coast of North America. This striking species was named after the American explorer and naturalist Adolphus Lewis Heermann. During a three-year expedition to the west coast of North America in the 1840s, Heermann collected over 1200 bird study skins.

Heuglin's Gull is a migratory species that breeds across tundra in Russia and elsewhere and winters in Southwest Asia, India, and Africa. The gull was named for German explorer and ornithologist Theodor von Heuglin. Heuglin's Wheatear is also named for the German adventurer.

Kumlien's Gull is a subspecies of the Thayer's Gull. The name comes from Swedish-American ornithologist, naturalist, and taxidermist Thure Kumlien. Kumlien settled in Milwaukee after moving to the United States and made significant contributions to the knowledge of Wisconsin's natural history. Kumlien was also a known authority on birds' nests and an early member of the American Ornithologits's Union.

Nelson's Gull isn't a species, but the result of the hybridization between a Herring Gull and a Glaucous Gull. The informal name given to this offspring was named for the American naturalist Edward William Nelson, who was the first to describe the bird.

Olrog's Gull is found along the Atlantic coast in parts of South America. This gull was named for the Swedish-Argentine biologist Claes C. Olrog, who also has his name on the Olrog's Cinclodes (a type of songbird), Olrog's Chaco Mouse, and Olrog's Four-eyed Opossum.

Pallas's Gull, also known as the Great Black-headed Gull, is a large species that breeds in parts of Russia and Mongolia. The species was named for the German zoologist and botanist Peter Simon Pallas. He described many species for science and has several others named after him, including Pallas's Cat, Pallas's Cormorant, and Pallas's Rosefinch.

James Clark Ross with Birdorable Ross's Gull

Ross's Gull is a small species that breeds in the high Arctic and Siberia. The gull was named for the British naval officer and explorer James Clark Ross. The Ross Seal, a moon crater, and the James Ross Strait are just a few of the other honorary names given in tribute of James Clark Ross.

General Sir Edward Sabine with Birdorable Sabine's Gull

Sabine's Gull is a small species that breeds in the Arctic. It is also called the Fork-tailed Gull or the Xeme. The species was named for the Irish scientist Sir Edward Sabine. Sabine had a wide range of interests and is known for his research on the magnetic field of the Earth as well as his study of Greenland's birds. The Sabine's Puffback, a songbird, and the Sabine's Spinetail, a swift, are both also named for the scientist.

Saunders's Gull, also known as the Chinese Black-headed Gull, is an Asian species of gull. The bird was named for the British ornithologist Howard Saunders. The Saunders's Tern is also named after the scientist. Before developing a keen interest in gulls and terns, Saunders studied the birds of Spain.

Thayer's Gull is a North American species. It was named for the amateur ornothologist John Eliot Thayer. Thayer brought early attention to the problems native species suffer when non-native predators are introduced. Thayer's Gull was first collected during an expedition to Alaska in 1913.

Gull Glossary

This week, we're celebrating the gulls of the world! Join us as we highlight these social and intelligent birds! Today we're sharing some keywords that pertain to gulls. This gull glossary also includes definitions that apply to other bird families, but are important topics to understand when studying gulls.

Carnivore
An animal that eats mostly other animals is said to be a carnivore. Gulls are carnivores that feed opportunistically in a variety of ways.

Cosmopolitan
If the range of a species covers much of the world, it is said to be cosmopolitan. In mammals, the Killer Whale is cosmopolitan because it is found in nearly all of the world's oceans. The gull family is cosmopolitan; gulls are found all over the world.

Exocrine Glands
Exocrine glands secrete matter via a duct. There are a variety of exocrine glands in different animals, including sweat glands that excrete sweat, and salivary glands that excrete saliva. Gulls have special exocrine glands that excrete salt, allowing them to drink from salt water as well as fresh water.

Hybridization
The taxonomy of gulls is complicated, and scientists make new discoveries on the relationships between species and subspecies all the time. Hybridization between closely-related species occurs on a regular basis. For example, Herring Gulls and Glaucous Gulls are known to interbreed in Greenland and Iceland. The offspring are known as "Nelson's Gull."

Birdorable Herring Gull and Glaucous Gull in love

Kleptoparasitism
The act of feeding be stealing food or prey from another is called kleptoparasitism -- literally parasitism by theft. Gulls feed in many different ways, including this method. They may steal fish caught by other birds that are able to dive deeper under the water than gulls are able.

Mobbing
When threatened by a predator or intruder, birds like gulls may work together to drive out the danger. This behavior is known as mobbing and may include vocalizations and movements meant to remove the danger. Birds that breed colonially, as gulls do, will often work together to keep all of the nests in the colony safe.

Monogamous
Gulls stay with their mates for life. While many bird species have monogamous relationships during breeding season, gulls will remain a mated pair season after season, for the life of the birds.

Opportunisitc Feeding
Gulls are able to survive and thrive in a variety of habitats and circumstances. Part of their success is their ability to feed opportunistically. Gulls are able to take advantage of available food sources in the moment; they are able to "improvise" a meal from almost anything edible. Opportunistic feeding is advantageous to a species that may face changes in its environment. An opposite feeding strategy, specialization, means that a species needs specific circumstances to be true in order to eat.

Pair-Bonding
When the breeding season begins, mated pairs re-establish or strengthen the relationship through different rituals. These rituals are known as pair-bonding. In gulls, this may involve special calls or vocalizations, sometimes accompanied by walking together or dancing, and nest-building.

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
Ring-billed Gulls dancing together (photo by Amy Evenstad)

Precocial
When a just-hatched baby bird is relatively advanced, it is considered precocial. Gulls have precocial young; the birds hatch covered in feathers and they are able to stand, walk, and feed themselves within a short amount of time. Birds that are the opposite of precocial, altricial, hatch nearly featherless and completely helpless, often with their eyes closed. They rely on their parents for everything until they are mature enough to start moving about on their own and care for themselves.

Welcome to Birdorable's first ever Gull Week! We're happy to celebrate gulls, a widespread family of social and intelligent seabirds. So far, we've got 21 species of gull in our cute cartoon style, out of the approximately 55 recognized species of gull in the world.

To start things off, here's a look back at some previous gull posts from our blog.

Birdorable Ivory Gull

Gulls are cosmopolitan, meaning they can be found all over the world. Sometimes a gull may be found outside of its regular range, like an Ivory Gull that was seen in New Jersey some years ago. Ivory Gulls normally spend their time in the arctic.

Gulls generally nest in large colonies, like the Herring Gull which was featured as a Baby Birdorable.

Birdorable Heermann's Gulls

We've featured the beautiful Heermann's Gull, the common Ring-billed Gull, and the large Great Black-backed Gull on the blog as well. That last species has the honor of being the official city bird of Rauma, Finland.

We told you about the official state bird of Utah, which is actually named after another state: the California Gull.

Birdorable California Gull

Some birds in the family don't go by the name "gull" at all; the Black-legged Kittiwake is one.

Join us as this week continues with our celebration of the world's gulls!

Birdorable White-winged Dove on cactus

The White-winged Dove, a captivating bird species, might ring a bell for fans of Stevie Nicks's iconic 1981 song, "Edge of Seventeen" A memorable part of the song features backup singers echoing "ooohh baby ooohh," a call that strikingly resembles the distinct coo of the White-winged Dove.

Native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, the White-winged Dove has recently expanded its range further east into Texas and beyond, partly due to urbanization and the popularity of backyard bird feeding. This expansion showcases the species' remarkable adaptability.

These doves thrive in desert environments, demonstrating incredible resilience. Capable of flying up to 25 miles to find water, they can also obtain necessary moisture from the saguaro cactus, which serves as a vital source of nourishment. Their diet includes nectar, pollen, fruit, and seeds of the saguaro cactus, aligning their migration and nesting patterns with the cactus's fruiting season.

In addition to their adaptability, White-winged Doves are known for their impressive migratory behavior, often traveling in vast groups. Historically, flocks numbering up to one million birds have been observed feeding in Texan grass fields—a truly spectacular sight! Oooh baby, that is a lot of birds!

White-winged Dove by William Herron (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)

Cute White-winged Dove gifts

Looking for a Valentine's Day gift? This week's featured t-shirt design is this sweet Lovebird Love Heart with our Birdorable Rosy-faced Lovebird, also known as the Peach-faced Lovebird. Is there anything cuter than lovebirds in love? Here two adorable cartoon Rosy-faced Lovebirds snuggle together with a heart explosion in the background. This original design, shown here on a purple women's American Apparel organic tshirt, is perfect for lovebird lovers! Available on many different apparel styles and colors.

Birdorable Lovebird Love Heart on Women's American Apparel Organic T-Shirt

We have many more Rosy-faced Lovebird gifts and check out our other love and hearts designs.

Welcome to our completely renewed website! As you can see it looks quite a bit different from before and we've added some new features as well, which are listed below. We hope you like the new look! Let us know in the comments below or via our contact form if you have any feedback or issues with the site.

Renewed Birdorable.com

What's new

  • The homepage now features a "Bird a day" and several other new things including a large slider and counter for the number of birds. We've been very busy with the new website but have some new birds to add soon, so check back in the coming weeks for some new Birdorables!
  • You can now log in with your Facebook, Twitter, Google, Windows Live or LinkedIn account by using the "Login / register" link at the top. Once logged in you can upload an avatar to go with your comments, you won't need to enter your name and a captcha each time you leave a comment, you can pick your favorite birds in Meet the Birds, and you can download coloring pages and other fun things in our Downloads section.
  • Previously we would only have a limited number of coloring pages available at a time. From now on all coloring pages are in our Downloads section and they will stay there. We currently have 88 different coloring pages available and we'll add more in the future. You do need to be logged in to download them, but it only takes a second to log in using one of the social media sites. We have also implemented a limit of 10 downloads per 30 days. If you need to download more files for an event or for another specific purpose please contact us with your request.
  • The new and improved Search allows you to search the whole site by keyword and filter the results by Designs, Products, Birds, Articles and Downloads.
  • The Meet the Birds area has been revamped with a new Browse Birds page with bigger pictures and an easier way to find birds. Type a keyword on the left to instantly update the results and click one of the two icons in the top-right to switch the pictures between full bird and head only.
  • You can pick your favorite birds by visiting a bird page (for instance Abyssinian Ground Hornbill) and clicking the new Add to Favorites button. Click the My Favorites page to view all your favorites. When you're logged in your favorites will be remembered.
  • Click Random Bird to let us surprise you with a random bird species. This is a great way to learn new birds.
  • Each bird page now has a Gifts tab where you can view all products with that bird species. It is also easier now to see a list of all the birds featured on a product or design to jump back to the meet pages of those birds.
  • On the Conservation Statuses page you can learn about the different categories from the IUCN Red List and then view all birds in that category, from Least Concern to Extinct.
  • Our shop has been completely updated with new ways to find products and bigger pictures. You can browse all our 1,500+ designs or search by product type.
  • The new Birdorable Gift Finder allows you to filter our thousands of products by age, recipient, interest, budget and more. This part is still in beta as we're testing it out. We'd love your feedback on this.
  • Previously our store contained products of both CafePress and Zazzle. We have moved all our designs to Zazzle and the site now only features products from our fulfillment partner Zazzle, which simplifies things. Check out this page with Zazzle Coupon Codes for the latest discount codes that you can use.