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Terns Gulls and Relatives: Laridae


Gulls eat a wide variety of foods. Many obtain fish and invertebrates, animals without backbones, from the seashore. Some species take advantage of human garbage or beg for handouts from people. Gulls have a wide variety of methods for obtaining food, including walking on the ground, searching in the water, and diving. They are also known to drop mollusks and other hard-shelled animals from a large height to crack the shells. Terns usually dive in the ocean for fish. Skimmers catch prey by skimming along the water with their lower bills underwater. Skimmers usually forage, search for food, either at dusk or at night. Skuas and jaegers are predatory, feeding on other bird species such as murres, gulls, and penguins.


Female skuas usually lay two eggs at a time. The two skua eggs hatch asynchronously (ay-SIN-kron-us-lee), that is, one egg hatches two or three days before the other. Asynchronous hatching allows the first chick to be larger and stronger than the other. In years where there is little food, parents can usually raise only one chick and so only the first chick survives.

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Animal Life ResourceBirdsTerns Gulls and Relatives: Laridae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Gulls, Terns, Relatives, And People - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, CONSERVATION STATUS