Do Seagulls Migrate? (Explained)

Have you ever seen a seagull flying high in the sky and wondered where it was going?

Seagulls are a common sight at beaches, ports, and even in cities.

These birds are known for their characteristic white and gray feathers and their loud, distinctive calls.

But do seagulls migrate?

Yes, seagulls migrate. The migration patterns of seagulls vary depending on the species, with some undertaking long-distance migrations while others undertake partial or altitudinal migrations.

Migration is an important behavior for seagulls as it allows them to access breeding and feeding grounds that may not be available year-round.

In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating world of seagull migration and learn about the different factors that influence this natural phenomenon.

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Seagulls are a group of birds that belong to the family Laridae.

They are found all over the world, and there are over 50 species of seagulls.

These birds are characterized by their long wings, hooked beaks, and webbed feet.

Seagulls are also known for their scavenging behavior, and they often feed on fish, crustaceans, and other marine animals.


Bird migration is a natural phenomenon where birds travel from one place to another in search of food, breeding grounds, or better weather conditions.

This behavior is seen in many bird species, and it’s an important part of their life cycle.

Migration is a complex behavior, and scientists are still trying to understand how birds navigate during this process.

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Seagull Species and Migration

The table below shows the different seagull species, their identification, size, and migration style:

Seagull SpeciesIdentificationSizeMigration Style
Herring GullWhite head, gray wings56-66 cm (22-26 in)Partial Migration
Lesser Black-backed GullDark gray back, yellow legs55-65 cm (22-26 in)Long-Distance Migration
Glaucous GullWhite overall, pink bill65-74 cm (26-29 in)Altitudinal Migration
Iceland GullWhite overall, yellow bill56-66 cm (22-26 in)Long-Distance Migration
Western GullGray wings, yellow bill53-64 cm (21-25 in)Non-Migratory

Herring Gulls are an example of seagulls that undertake partial migration.

This means that some members of the population stay in their breeding grounds year-round, while others migrate to other locations during the winter.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls undertake long-distance migration, with some individuals traveling over 10,000 kilometers from their breeding grounds to their wintering grounds.

Glaucous Gulls undertake altitudinal migration, which means that they migrate to higher elevations during the summer breeding season and move to lower elevations during the winter.

Iceland Gulls undertake long-distance migration, with some individuals traveling from the

Factors Affecting Seagull Migration

Seagull migration is a complex phenomenon that is influenced by a variety of factors.

Some of the factors that impact seagull migration include climate change, habitat destruction, food availability, predation risk, and competition for resources.

1). Climate Change

Climate change is one of the biggest factors affecting seagull migration.

As temperatures and weather patterns change, seagulls may alter their migration patterns or even stop migrating altogether.

Rising temperatures can affect the timing of breeding and migration, as well as the availability of food and resources.

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Changes in weather patterns, such as increased frequency and intensity of storms, can also impact seagulls’ ability to migrate.

2). Habitat Destruction

Habitat destruction is another factor that can impact seagull migration.

As coastal habitats are destroyed, seagulls may have fewer breeding or feeding opportunities, which can impact their migration behavior.

For example, the destruction of wetlands or estuaries can reduce the availability of food for seagulls, making it more difficult for them to migrate.

3). Food Availability

Food availability is an important factor in seagull migration.

Seagulls need access to food during their migration, and changes in the availability or distribution of food can impact their behavior.

For example, changes in fish populations or fishing practices can impact the availability of food for seagulls, which can impact their migration patterns.

4). Predation Risk

Predation risk is another factor that can influence seagull migration patterns.

Seagulls may avoid areas where predators are present, or alter their migration routes to avoid areas of high predation risk.

For example, seagulls may avoid areas where birds of prey are known to hunt or alter their migration routes to avoid areas where they are likely to encounter predators.

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5). Competition for Resources

Competition for resources can also influence seagull migration patterns.

Seagulls may alter their migration routes or behavior to avoid competition for resources such as food or breeding sites.

For example, seagulls may avoid areas where other seagull species are known to breed or feed or alter their behavior to reduce competition for resources.


Discover the fascinating migration patterns of seagulls. Delve into their behaviors, routes, and reasons behind migration. Uncover how environmental factors and instincts drive these majestic birds across vast distances. Gain insights into the importance of migration for seagull populations and coastal ecosystems. Explore the role of research and conservation efforts in understanding and protecting seagull migration. Dive into the world of these resilient aviators and unravel the mysteries of their annual journeys.


Seagull migration is a fascinating natural phenomenon that is influenced by a variety of factors.

Understanding the behavior of seagulls and their migration patterns can help us better understand the impacts of climate change and habitat destruction on these birds.

When we protect the habitats and food sources of seagulls, we can help ensure that these birds continue to thrive and play their important role in our ecosystems.

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