Tongue of a Gull

What does the tongue of a Gull look like?

Birds do not have teeth, so their tongues and beaks are adapted to foraging (looking for food) and feeding.

The European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) is a large coastal bird. People often call it a Seagull, but as pointed out by a reader, it is a Gull, not a Seagull. It feeds on fish and crustaceans, such as crabs and shrimp. It is also a scavenger, feeding on human scraps. 

European Herring Gull

Its tongue, and the tongue of all gulls, is pink and tapered in a long triangular shape. It is wider at the base and narrower at the tip. It fits neatly into the shape of its beak.

Fish-eating birds, such as gulls, have small narrow tongues so that they don’t get in the way when they’re eating a fish whole, head first. 

European Herring Gull
European Herring Gull

Location of photographs: Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


2 thoughts on “Tongue of a Gull

  1. Thanks for clearing that up – I’m doing an illustration of a Herring gull and needed some confirmation. Btw strictly speaking gulls are not ‘seagulls’ because they are land birds (i.e. not seabirds (at least that’s true for the UK).

    1. Thanks so much William. You are absolutely correct about the Herring Gull not being a seagull. A gull is a gull. So, thanks for pointing that out.

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