Most gulls, particularly Larus species, are ground nesting carnivores, which will take live food or scavenge opportunistically. Live food often includes crabs and small fish. Gulls are typically coastal or inland species, rarely venturing far out to sea. The large species take up to four years to attain full adult plumage, but two years is typical for small gulls. Large White-Headed Gulls are typically long-lived birds, with a maximum age of 49 years recorded for the Herring Gull.
Gulls nest in large, densely packed noisy colonies. They lay two to three speckled eggs in nests composed of vegetation. The young are precocial, being born with dark mottled down, and mobile upon hatching.
Gulls are resourceful, inquisitive and intelligent birds, demonstrating complex methods of communication and a highly developed social structure. For example, many gull colonies display mobbing behaviour, attacking and harassing would-be predators and other intruders. Certain species have exhibited tool use behaviour, using pieces of bread as bait with which to catch goldfish, for example. Many species of gull have learned to coexist successfully with humans and have thrived in human habitats.
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