Tour Scotland Video Herring Gull Calling East Sands Beach St Andrews Fife



Tour Scotland Christmas Day video of a Herring Gull calling by the East Sands beach in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. Herring Gulls have a rich repertoire of calls, each of which may be modified in different contexts and accompanied by different postures. For example, the long-drawn single note of their mew call is always accompanied by an arched neck, but serves to attract attention in contexts as diverse as courtship, chick feeding, nest approaches, or agitated aggression. Their characteristic ha-ha-ha-ha alarm call may change to a plaintive yeow in flight or a yelping keow as the threat intensifies. That keow is highly individual and can serve as personal identification. When trumpeted more and more shrilly as the gull lowers and then raises its head, this becomes the gull's "long call," the most elaborate, variable, and individualized call in its repertoire. Both sexes make a repeated huoh-huoh-huoh in courtship, territorial disputes, and nest selection to indicate some version of "I'm not moving." It’s been called their “choking call” because the birds deliver the call while leaning forward, head down, and heaving upward as they call. Chicks beg for regurgitated food with a klee-ew call that they first peep while inside the egg. And adults use the same call in a softer "baby-talk" version during courtship or in exchanges when the male returns to take his turn on the nest.

All photographs are copyright of Sandy Stevenson, Tour Scotland, and may not be used without permission.

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