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Where Do Seagulls Go In The Winter?

With seagulls being such a common sight in our coastal towns and cities, we have noticed more and more people asking various questions about seagulls, why they act the way they do, what you can feed them, and a whole range of other questions.

It is only natural that the more people interact with an animal, the more people will be curious about it and then look for information on it to solve their curiosities.

One of the most common questions that we see people asking is where do seagulls go in the winter and we have noticed more and more people reaching out to ask about it with each year that goes by.

It is easy to wonder where all of the seagulls end up going as in the warmer months, you can hear them calling and you will also see them flying around on a regular basis but then their numbers drastically drop.

We actually see three main questions about seagulls and the winter months so we have decided to answer all three of them in this article to try and make it an ultimate resource for what happens with seagulls during the winter months.

Do Seagulls Hibernate Or Migrate In The Winter?

The majority of seagulls will migrate south for the winter months with American seagulls usually flying to Central America and in some cases South America where as European seagulls will migrate to Africa and sometimes the Middle Ease.

There are a small number of seagulls that will remain in the North for the winter though but they tend not to hibernate and will usually stay active throughout the colder months.

You also have to remember that the term “seagull” is actually used to describe a wide range of different types of gull and is not a single species as some people think.

Some of the more hardy species are often able to stay in the North or at least not have to migrate as far South as other species due to being able to easily withstand colder temperatures.

This is why some American seagull species will stay in the Southern United States for winter where as some European seagulls will only migrate to Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece for the winter rather than going all the way to Africa.

This will often still provide the gulls with a coastline to live with plenty of food while the local climate is less harsh in the winter months than further North allowing the seagulls to easily live there for a while without issue.

Where Do Seagulls Go In The Winter?

Different seagull species tend to migrate to different areas depending on their specific species, the larger species often migrate to Central America, South America, Africa, and the Middle East.

Some of the smaller species of seagull will also migrate to those areas but some will often stay in North America or Europe but migrate to the Southern areas due to there being a much warmer climate.

There are no specific countries that seagulls will migrate to in the winter months though due to the concept of countries being alien to seagulls and many of them just migrating to a general range spreading over a huge area.

Some species of seagull will often try to make it back to the nesting areas where they were born but this is not as common with seagulls as it is with some other birds.

Some seagull species will usually just go to an area where they feel safe, have access to a large body of water for food, and where they feel the temperature will be warm enough for them.

This does not necessarily mean that the same seagull will always fly to the same area or even the same country each year when it flies south for the winter.

As we mentioned earlier, although rare, some seagulls may decide not to even fly south for the winter and to just stay in the Northern areas they were in and wait the winter out.

How Do Seagulls Survive The Winter?

Many species of seagulls are able to withstand the winter temperatures with food having been a historic reason that they would fly south rather than just the temperature drops.

This is why an increasing number of seagulls are staying in their Northen breeding areas throughout the winter due to there being plenty of food available due to human waste at landfills.

The majority of seagulls do still tend to fly South though due to their instinct being strong but the more and more seagulls interact with humans and start to get their food from our waste rather than the sea the more seagulls we expect to see staying in their Northern breeding grounds and not migrating.

On top of that, some humans are starting to raise baby seagulls that fall from their nests and are injured resulting in these seagulls staying near the humans that raise them rather than flying South too.

This is now starting to result in the learned behavior of the babies of an adopted seagull also starting to rely on the humans who adopted their mother to feed them too.

This is actually becoming a large area in some locations so the local authority has put bans on caring for seagulls to try and protect the birds from losing their natural instincts and skills to feed themselves.

Various bird charities have also supported these bans as although some seagull species can survive the winter, it is not necessarily good for them and can result in various health problems.


That brings our article going over where seagulls go in the winter to an end. We hope that we have been able to answer your questions and help you understand what actually happens during the winter months for the majority of seagulls. The vast majority do still choose to fly South but more and more seagulls are choosing to stay in the North and just take the winter due to there being plenty of food available.