Is It Wrong To Call Gulls Seagulls?

Herring Gulls

Have you ever talked about the seagulls that have visited your garden or seen at the beach only for someone to tell you that it’s wrong to say ‘seagull’ and you should call them gulls? If so you’re not alone. We often get asked why ‘seagull’ is considered the incorrect terminology.

The word seagull is a colloquialism for describing any bird that belongs to the family Laridae, the gulls, of which there are about 150 species worldwide with 11 found in the UK. These are the black-headed gull, common gull, glaucous gull, great black-backed gull, herring gull, Iceland gull, kittiwake, lesser black-backed gull, little gull, Mediterranean gull and yellow-legged gull.

There is not actually a single of species of birds called seagulls, but because gulls are so often associated with the sea and because they can be difficult to tell apart to the untrained eye, many people call all gulls seagulls, including those that are rarely seen at the beach such as the black-headed gull. The name seagull is thought to have come about because there was an abundance of food, in particular fish, near the coast for gulls

The gulls you see at the beach are most likely to be herring gulls, which are large, noisy birds with a reputation for stealing chips and ice creams. However, even herring gulls can be found inland particularly around rubbish tips, and large reservoirs and lakes.


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