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Seagull vs. Gull: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on November 30, 2023
"Seagull" and "gull" refer to the same bird; "seagull" is a colloquial term, while "gull" is the formal, correct term.

Key Differences

"Seagull" is a common term used colloquially to refer to a variety of sea birds in the family Laridae. "Gull," on the other hand, is the scientifically accurate term for these birds. While "seagull" is widely recognized, it is not used in formal ornithological contexts.
The term "seagull" is often used in everyday language and in popular culture. "Gull" is used in scientific and formal writings. This distinction highlights the difference between colloquial and formal language use.
In literature and media, "seagull" is frequently used to evoke imagery of the sea and coastal environments. "Gull" is more likely to be found in scientific literature, emphasizing accuracy and specificity.
The word "seagull" conveys a casual, familiar tone, suitable for general audiences. "Gull" is preferred in academic and research settings, where precision is paramount.
Overall, "seagull" and "gull" refer to the same birds, but their usage varies based on context, with "seagull" being more colloquial and "gull" being the formal term.

Comparison Chart


Informal, colloquial term
Formal, scientific term

Usage Context

Common in everyday language
Used in academic and ornithological contexts


Casual, familiar
Precise, specific

Literature Presence

Often found in popular culture
Appears in scientific literature


Seen as a generic term for sea birds
Recognized as the correct ornithological term

Seagull and Gull Definitions


A common name for sea birds in the family Laridae.
A seagull swooped down to snatch a chip from the beachgoer's hand.


A seabird of the family Laridae, known for its adaptability.
A gull hovered above the fishing boat, waiting for scraps.


A symbol of freedom in many cultures.
To him, the soaring seagull represented the spirit of adventure.


Exhibits varied plumage patterns across species.
The black-headed gull stood out among its peers.


Often associated with coastal environments.
The cry of a seagull echoed over the harbor.


Often found in both coastal and inland areas.
Gulls gathered around the lake during the migration season.


A bird with a distinctive call, often heard at beaches.
The sound of seagulls filled the air at sunrise.


Plays an important role in many ecosystems.
Gulls are essential for maintaining the balance in marine environments.


A gull, especially one found near coastal areas.


Displays intelligent behavior in obtaining food.
The gull skillfully opened a clam by dropping it on a rock.


Any of several white, often dark backed birds of the family Laridae having long pointed wings and short legs.


Any of various chiefly coastal seabirds of the family Laridae, having long wings, webbed feet, a thick, slightly hooked beak, and usually gray and white plumage.


(orthography) The symbol  ̼ , which combines under a letter as a sort of accent.


A person who is easily tricked or cheated; a dupe.


A fan or member of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club.


To run in the back line rather than concentrate on primary positional duties in open play.


To use a British Seagull outboard.


(New Zealand) To work as a non-union casual stevedore.


Mostly white aquatic bird having long pointed wings and short legs


Known for its scavenging habits.
The seagull rummaged through the discarded food at the picnic site.


Can gulls live in urban areas?

Yes, gulls are adaptable and can thrive in urban environments.

Is "seagull" the correct scientific name?

No, "seagull" is not scientifically accurate; "gull" is the correct term.

What do gulls eat?

Gulls are opportunistic feeders, eating everything from fish to human food waste.

Is it safe to feed seagulls?

Feeding gulls can lead to unhealthy dependence and is often discouraged.

Do seagulls mate for life?

Many gull species are monogamous and mate for life.

Are seagulls protected by law?

In many regions, gulls are protected under wildlife conservation laws.

Do seagulls migrate?

Many gull species migrate, but some are resident year-round in their habitats.

Are seagulls aggressive?

Gulls can be aggressive, especially when defending their territory or young.

Why do seagulls gather in large groups?

Gulls are social birds and gather in groups for feeding and mating.

Are there different species of seagulls?

Yes, there are several species of gulls, often colloquially called seagulls.

Can seagulls recognize humans?

Studies suggest that gulls can recognize individual humans.

Are there endangered gull species?

Some gull species are considered endangered or vulnerable.

How long do gulls live?

Gulls can live up to 20 years or more in the wild.

Do gulls have good eyesight?

Yes, gulls have excellent vision, which helps them find food.

What is the largest species of gull?

The Great Black-backed Gull is one of the largest gull species.

How do seagulls communicate?

Gulls communicate through a variety of calls and body language.

Do gulls have predators?

Gulls have predators, including larger birds of prey and some mammals.

Can gulls be found inland?

Yes, some gull species are found in inland areas, not just along coasts.

Can gulls swim?

Yes, gulls are good swimmers and often float on water.

What role do gulls play in the ecosystem?

Gulls are important scavengers and help in cleaning up the environment.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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