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Laridae – Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers

Ivory Gull in the United States: Photo by Brian Sullivan

Welcome to our guides on Laridae, a diverse family of seabirds found across the globe. With over 100 species, Laridae encompasses a wide range of shapes, sizes, and behaviors. From the elegant terns gracefully diving for fish to the raucous gulls scavenging for scraps along coastlines, these birds exhibit a fascinating array of adaptations to their marine environments. Join us as we explore the fascinating world of Laridae and learn more about these charismatic and adaptable birds.

Overview of Laridae

The Laridae represent the ubiquitous shoreline inhabitants, known to all who frequent coastal areas. These birds, often seen in abundance, exhibit distinct feeding behaviors: Gulls, displaying remarkable opportunism, consume a wide array of prey, while terns specialize in diving for fish, maintaining a respectful distance from one another during foraging. Skimmers, with their unique bills, deftly snatch prey from the water’s surface in coordinated groups. Nesting in diverse locations, from sandy shores to lofty cliff edges, Larids rear their precocial offspring until they are ready to take flight.