Several predators eat seagulls, including foxes, weasels, sharks and predatory birds. These predators hunt the gulls in different ways, depending on the predator’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, hawks and falcons capture seagulls in flight, while foxes and weasels hunt gulls when they are on the ground. Seagulls have defensive strategies that they use to thwart these predators, including flight and living in large groups.
Seagulls must avoid predators in all of their typical haunts. In addition to foxes hunting them on dry land and raptors hunting them in the sky, sharks and predatory fish may consume seagulls as they float in the ocean. Seagulls that frequent bodies of fresh water may also fall victim to alligators and crocodiles.
Seagulls appear to learn from interactions with predators. When a fox or weasel approaches a nesting seagull colony, the birds often fly over the predator to watch its activities. If the seagulls see the predator with a dead bird, they become fearful of other members of the same species when they approach. For example, if a fox attacks a colony of nesting gulls and catches a bird, the other birds become much more wary of foxes over the next several days.