Scientific Name
Subfamily Larinae
Also Known As
Gulls, Sea Gulls
All of Florida
Fish, Invertabrates, Human Waste
Life Expectancy
10 - 15 Years
The Gulls

Photo 176043673 © Bill Uttenweiler, CC BY-NC

American Crow conservation status - Least Concern

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Seagulls in Central Florida

The herring gull (Larus argentatus) and laughing gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) are two common gull species found along Florida’s central Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Often considered nuisance birds, gulls thrive in urbanized coastal areas rich in food waste.

This comprehensive guide provides identification tips, biology facts, and deterrent methods for mitigating gull overpopulation issues in central Florida. Read on to learn gull habits, reproduction, diet, health risks, signs of infestation, and professional management options for these adaptable, opportunistic birds.

Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Photo 284617710 © Donald Davesne, CC BY-NC

Laughing Gull

Laughing Gull

Photo 131620248 © jshelfrich, CC BY-NC

Appearance and Identification

Gulls can be identified by their physical characteristics at juvenile and adult life stages

Adult Seagull

Photo 62309095 © telemark, CC BY-NC

Adult Gulls

  • Size: Herring gulls reach about 25 inches (64 cm) long with a 55 inch (140 cm) wingspan. Laughing gulls are slightly smaller at 17 inches (43 cm) long.
  • Plumage: Adults have pale gray backs/wings, white underparts, and black wingtips with white spots. The laughing gull has a black head in summer.
  • Features: Pink legs, thick necks, rounded heads, and heavy duck-like bodies distinguish gulls from other coastal birds like terns.
Juvenile Seagull

Photo 209714662 © Kristen Lindquist, CC BY-NC

Juvenile Gulls

  • Size: Newly hatched gulls are about 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) long and weigh 0.7 ounces (20 grams). They reach full adult size by 2-3 months old.
  • Plumage: Juvenile plumage is mottled brown/gray with dark banding. The head is mostly brown.
  • Features: Large eyes, stout body, slightly hooked and pointed beak averaging 0.6 inches (1.5 cm). Toes are webbed for swimming.

Gull tracks and droppings also aid in identification. Their feces tend to be more solid and compact compared to runny, white seabird guano. Gulls make loud, raucous calls.

Gull Eggs

Photo 112536358 © J. Burke Korol, CC BY-NC

Gull Eggs

  • Seagull eggs vary slightly between species but generally have an oval shape, pale col