Migratory Birds of the Great Lakes University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
 about habitat birds + science 20 birds
aerialist raptors
copyright UW Sea Grant, writer: L. Wiland, design: T. Yao contact us credits

Ring-billed Gull — The Water Connection

• Like other gulls and terns, the Ring-billed Gull features specialized salt glands, which are paired interior structures located in front of the eyes and connected to the nostrils. These glands expel a solution of highly condensed salt from the gull’s system, enabling the bird to drink saltwater without ill effect.

• Ring-billed Gulls sometimes hover above the water’s surface to search for and snatch food. While swimming, they are surface feeders, skimming or dipping their heads to seize items at or just below the surface.

• Ring-billed Gulls often steal food from waterfowl, especially diving ducks. The gull will swoop directly at a duck that has just surfaced with a fish or other piece of food; the frightened duck expels its prey and quickly dives again, leaving the gull to grab the food.