Gulls are seabirds in the family Laridae. They are most closely related to the terns (family Sternidae), and more distantly to the waders, auks and skimmers. Most gulls belong to the large genus Larus.
They are in general medium to large birds, typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet.
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—the larger species in particular—are resourceful and highly-intelligent birds, demonstrating complex methods of communication and a highly-developed social structure. Certain species (e.g. the Herring Gull) have exhibited tool use behaviour. Many species of gull have learned to co-exist successfully with man and have thrived in human habitats.
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