Can Seagulls Swim? Explained!

Last updated on November 1st, 2022

If you have a house near the beach, you must have observed seagulls on the deck.

These birds are excellent hunters, and you must have seen them dive off the rocks on the beach. But have you ever seen them swim?

Seagulls can swim and hold their breath underwater for a couple of minutes at a time even though swimming isn’t a natural activity for them and their webbed feet aids their ability to swim efficiently underwater.

When I was discussing the behavior of seagulls with a marine biologist, she told me that seagulls could swim quite smoothly.

So, although it is not common to see seagulls swimming, they are excellent swimmers. 

Can seagulls dive into the water?

Yes, seagulls are excellent divers. You will find that these birds can take off from a deck or a dock and plunge into the water in search of food.

Seagulls are excellent hunters, and they can also fly quite well.

According to the website, seagulls are excellent divers, and they can be pretty aggressive, especially when trying to protect their young ones.

For example, if a seagull feels that its nest is threatened, then it will dive bomb to attack the threat and remove it.

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How long can seagulls hold their breath underwater?

A seagull can hold its breath underwater for a couple of minutes at a time.

Do seagulls have webbed feet?

According to the website, seagulls have webbed feet, meaning they have a skin or a membrane connecting the toes on their feet.

The webbed feet of seagulls make locomotion easier for the birds on land and water.

When the birds are underwater, you will find that their webbed feet help them swim and even direct their movement in the water.

How they swim is similar to that of ducks and birds with webbed feet. Seagulls spend most of their time on land, but if necessary, they can swim.

These birds usually head towards the water in search of food or to avoid dangers on land.

Can seagulls sleep on water?

There is no evidence to suggest that seagulls can sleep on the water. If you find a seagull not making any movement while it is on water, then chances are there that the bird is floating.

Seagulls can float quite well on the water without sudden swift movement.

However, while floating, the bird can suddenly dive into the water if it spots a suitable dish or food that it can consume.

But seagulls do not sleep on the water. They sleep on land, and you will find that they will look for suitable places to hide even when it rains.

Can seagulls swim underwater?

Seagulls can go underwater if they find suitable food.

For example, if a dead fish has floated up, the bird can dive underwater and stay beneath the water’s surface for a few minutes to grab hold of the fish.

But you will not find seagulls swimming underwater for great lengths or long periods.

Although seagulls are aquatic birds, they are pretty different from birds like penguins and ducks.

They will stay above water while swimming and scavenge for food on the water’s surface.

Can a seagull hunt a live fish?

Seagulls are not hunters in the sense that hawks, eagles, or pelicans are.

This means they will not go looking for live fish. However, if they find small live fish, they will catch these.

Seagulls often dive into the water to look for small fishes that swim up, and the bird can catch these fishes in their sharp beaks.

Nevertheless, the birds will not try to look for live fish to hunt because they are opportunistic hunters.

Do seagulls swim differently from other animals?

Seagulls can walk quite fast on the beach and even on the deck of your beach house!

But when you observe them swim, you will find they can do it equally fast.

However, seagulls swim differently from other aquatic birds because their bodies remain above water while swimming.

They swim using only their feet and if you compare how penguins swim to that of seagulls, you will find that penguins immerse themselves entirely underwater.

However, seagulls stay above water even while they are swimming.

You will find that they mostly swim like ducks and other animals that have webbed feet.

Why do seagulls go to the sea?

Seagulls are usually found walking on land, but you will sometimes find them heading to the sea.

There can be several reasons why a seagull will head to the sea. The first reason is that seagulls usually go to the sea for food.

Seagulls are both hunters and scavengers. This means seagulls will look for food lying about on the beach or pick dead fish from the garbage.

Seagulls can dive and pick fish from the surface of the water if they find fish floating on it.

How do seagulls manage to survive deep into the sea?

Seagulls are unusual birds that can survive in salt water.

They can venture out into the sea because they are excellent swimmers and have a pair of glands above their eyes that can flush out the salt from their nostrils.

Hence, even if the bird consumes salt water, the salt gets removed from the body by the glands.

Are seagulls harmful to beach properties?

Many property owners mention that seagulls cause harm to properties.

The primary reason is that the droppings of seagulls have uric acid, and the build-up of these bird droppings can prove to be dangerous to the wood like the deck, roof, and the other woodwork of the building.

Therefore, property owners with homes near the beach often consider seagulls a nuisance since these animals live on the beach.

Where do seagulls sleep at night?

Seagulls sleep in their nest or under rocky hangings and cliffs.

However, you will also find that seagulls sleep in tall grass, abandoned buildings, and dunes.

Seagulls are often found sleeping inside abandoned buildings and open grasslands.

However, this does not provide them with the necessary cover offered by nests and rocky outgrowths which can make the birds vulnerable to attacks.

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