Each gull species has its own vocabulary of sounds, and they communicate things such as mating rituals, warning calls, and location of food sources.
Young gulls have high pitched whining calls that together with their behavior cause parents to regurgitate food for them. Most warning calls are growling-like. Some calls are soft and others are loud and far reaching to warn away competitors.
You may be watching and listening to several species of gulls, and each species may have sounds peculiar to its species (such as mate attraction calls). Other sounds will be more generally recognized by all gull species (such as "stay away from my food").
To learn more about the songs of birds, try these links.
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Dr. Biology. (2017, May 11). What do the different calls of gulls mean?. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved October 22, 2020 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/gull-calls
Dr. Biology. "What do the different calls of gulls mean?". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 11 May, 2017. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/gull-calls
Dr. Biology. "What do the different calls of gulls mean?". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 11 May 2017. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 22 Oct 2020. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/gull-calls