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gull,

common name for an aquatic bird of the family Laridae, which also includes the terntern,
common name for a sea bird of the Old and New Worlds, smaller than the related gull. Because of their graceful flight and their long pointed wings and forked tails, some terns are called sea swallows. They plunge headlong into the water to catch small fish.
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 and the jaegerjaeger
, common name for several members of the family Stercorariidae, member of a family of hawklike sea birds closely related to the gull and the tern. The skua is also a member of this family.
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. It is found near all oceans and many inland waters. Gulls are larger and bulkier than terns, and their tails are squared rather than forked. Their plumage is usually white with gray or black markings on the back, wings, and head. Their long, narrow wings are adapted to soaring and their webbed feet to swimming. They have strong bills, hooked at the end; they eat clams and fish and sometimes insects, but are most useful as scavengers in harbors and bays. They are often seen hovering over the wakes of ships, seeking refuse, and frequenting garbage dumps. The common gull—called sea gull in North America—is the herring gull Larus argentatus smithsonianus, a subspecies of the common European gull L. argentatus. It is found on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and on the Great Lakes. The larger great black-backed gull, L. marinus, is more northern; the ring-billed, Bonaparte's, and laughing gull are smaller. The Franklin's gull of the Great Plains is called the "prairie dove." The California and western gulls are common on the Pacific coast. The kittiwake is a small oceanic gull of the genus Rissa, seldom seen on land. The lesser black-backed and little gulls are European. Gulls are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Charadriiformes, family Laridae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

gull

[gəl]
(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for a number of long-winged swimming birds in the family Laridae having a stout build, a thick, somewhat hooked bill, a short tail, and webbed feet.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

gull

any aquatic bird of the genus Larus and related genera, such as L. canus (common gull or mew) having long pointed wings, short legs, and a mostly white plumage: family Laridae, order Charadriiformes
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Though sea gulls are core to the Jersey Shore, the birds that have been hunting the food stalls lining the boardwalk in Ocean City possess an extra level of voracious hunger, a fever pitch of aggression that stands out even in a state where pugnacity is considered a plus.
The team's simple experiment involved placing a bag of chips on the ground and testing how long it took herring gulls to approach when someone was watching them.
On average the gulls took 21 seconds longer to approach the food they often cheekily swipe from unsuspecting snackers while they were being stared at.
For residents of seaside towns the fear of attack from above can be very real as the sharp billed gulls swoop down.
Numbers of herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls have grown in Aberdeen - and while some see them as part of the city's fabric, others regard them as a nuisance.
It was hoped that the demolition of one of the key buildings they were nesting on might have had an impact but it has been found instead that the colony"continues to increase"and gulls were actually found"nesting on the ground among the rubble."
Ground-nesting birds find safety in numbers and these gulls make a lot of noise.
John Llewellyn Jones, 64, killed the gull during a day-trip to Westonsuper-Mare in July last year.
I've seen these huge noisy gulls in and around the garden on a few occasions.
A LETHARGIC gull has been rescued after getting trapped in a 10-inch gap between two buildings.
They are, I guess, of course more correctly just gulls and they come in a number of varieties.