The silver gull is a large bird belonging to the gull family, living in the Northern Hemisphere.
These birds give preference to the cold region - Scandinavia, Iceland, Great Britain and the islands of the Arctic Ocean from Chukotka to Taimyr.Silver gull (Larus argentatus).
In America, silver nests are nesting in Canada, Alaska, and the US east coast. In addition, these birds are found on the Atlantic coast of France, and in winter they fly to South China, Japan, Florida and the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.
Silver gulls live near ponds, it does not matter whether it is the ocean or lakes. These birds are found on the gentle and rocky banks of the rivers, and they also live in swamps. Rocky shores are favorite places, since there are no predators there. Today, silver gulls live in large cities, they are actively building nests on the roofs of skyscrapers. The nature of these birds is quite aggressive, they do not give offense.
The length of the body of the representatives of the species varies between 55-65 centimeters. Females are smaller than males by about 5 centimeters.
Silver gulls weigh about 800-1300 grams. Males are 200 grams heavier than females on average. The wingspan varies from 130 to 150 centimeters.The silver gull is a predatory seabird.
The plumage of males and females is the same. The back is pale gray, and the neck, trunk and head are white. The wings are light gray. The tips of the fly wings are black, diluted with white spots. The beak is squeezed on the sides, and its end is bent down. The color of the beak is yellow, on the beak there is a clear red spot.
Listen to the voice of a silver gull
There are no feathers around the eyes, the skin in these places is yellow. The iris is gray. The legs are pink, over time their color does not change. Feathers living in Scandinavia have yellowish legs. In the winter period, silver gulls appear dark streaks on the neck and head.
Young individuals acquire light plumage only by the 4th year of life. Prior to this, their plumage is colorful, brown and gray colors prevail in it. In the 2nd year of life, the feathers significantly brighten, by the 3rd year the upper body and head turn white. In young animals, the beak and iris of the eyes are brown, gray eyes become on the 4th year of life.Seagulls drink water.
Silver gulls are omnivorous birds. They often gather in flocks near ships and in landfills. On the ground they hunt lizards, small rodents, larvae and insects. Bred nests of other birds, eating their eggs and chicks. From plant foods, preference is given to nuts, grains, fruits, berries and tubers. Love sea worms and crustaceans.
Silver gulls fish fish at the water surface, while they immerse the upper body in water and look for prey. Seagulls even know how to dive, but not more than 1 meter. In weaker birds, these birds take prey.
Often they look out for a victim whirling above the water. If the prey has a protective shell, then the bird rises into the air, throws it on the stones and, thus, breaks it. Fish is not the basis of the diet of silver gulls, but during nesting, these birds try to catch as many fish as possible, since the chicks feed on it.
Reproduction and longevityThe silver gull eats not only animal, but also plant foods.
Silvery gulls are highly organized birds, a peculiar hierarchy with a complex structure of relationships is maintained in the flock. Males are considered leaders, and females must obey them. But when it comes to choosing a place for a nest, females dominate. Monogamous pairs build silvery seagulls, which, as a rule, last for life.
Feathered flies to nesting sites when ice begins to melt. In the northern regions, this does not happen until April-May. For the nesting period, silver gulls are combined into large colonies. Nests are built on the banks of cliffs, on rocks, and sometimes in thickets of vegetation. Between the nests, a distance of 3-5 meters is maintained. Females are built by females along with males. Natural materials are used for their construction: tree branches, moss and grass. The inside of the nest is insulated with feathers.
The female hatches 2-4 eggs, most often in the clutch there are 3 pieces. Both parents are involved in the process of hatching eggs, replacing each other. The incubation period takes 4 weeks. The body of newborn chicks is covered with gray down with dark spots. On the 2nd day of life, they begin to get up, and after 1.5 months they begin to fly. But for another month they remain with their parents, who alternately feed them.
During feeding, the chick beats with its beak on the red spot located above the beak of the parent, and he spits up food. Puberty in silver gulls occurs at 5 years. Life expectancy in the wild is on average 45-50 years.A silver gull can live up to 50 years.
Relationship with man
Silver gulls are not afraid of people. They actively settle in megacities on the roofs of houses. If the seagull believes that a person wants to harm the offspring, she attacks him. Sometimes these arrogant birds snatch food from people on the street, right from their hands.
Over the past 25 years, there has been a tendency to reduce the number of silver gulls. In Europe, the number of these birds decreased by 50%. The main reason for this situation is environmental factors and a decrease in the number of fish in coastal areas. In connection with these events, European silver gulls are in the Red Book. Despite the fact that silver gulls have conservation status, it is not known whether this will help preserve the species.