Seagulls snacking: Seaside scavengers in the city

Understand the eating habits of our feathered friends to keep our cities healthy

Have you had a seagull snatch your chips?

You can find them all around our local area, in trees, benches, parks and ponds. They’re everywhere.

What do seagulls eat?

Seagulls are one of the few species of seabirds that can survive drinking saltwater, letting them venture far out to sea in search of food.

They’re opportunistic feeders, eating fish, insects and crustations, shellfish and earthworms, rodents, eggs, carrion, offal, reptiles, amphibians and seeds as well as fruit and food scraps from humans.

They’ll steal another bird’s catch and are notorious for snatching your chips.

Seagulls can survive drinking salt water, this lets them venture out to sea in search of food.

Can I feed seagulls?


Do not feed the seagulls. Human food is not healthy for them and may lead to poor health.

Seagulls may become aggressive towards humans, seeking more food and crowding together leads to noise, mess and nuisance.

What can I do to help seagulls?

There are 2 ways you can help this common bird.

  1. Instead of feeding seagulls, try just watching them. Their natural behaviour is fun to watch.
  2. Get involved in a local Citizen Science project. This helps scientists get a clearer picture of wildlife in Australia.

What do you call a group of seagulls?

A collective noun is any noun that is used to name a group of something.

Seagulls don’t have an official collective noun, but they have been called a colony, a flock and a scavenging of seagulls. Another fun term is a squabble.

This article is part of a monthly series about our feathered friends. Each month, our Urban Ecology team will share fun facts about birds in our local area and how we can keep them happy and healthy.

Seagulls at the Sydney Fish Markets, Pyrmont. Photo: Adam Hollingworth/City of Sydney

Posted .

Subscribe for updates

Choose the news that interests you

Sign up
Sign up