Communication and Perception
Herring gulls have no song, but have a complex system of anywhere from 8 to perhaps 15 calls; two are used by nestlings and another three are used only by breeding adults. Various calls serve to identify returning partners, demonstrate aggression, warn the colony of predators, and to dispute territory with neighboring gulls. When males are disputing territory, they may pull at grass with their beaks as part of their demonstration. Chicks begin making begging calls to demand food upon hatching; the call grows more intense as they grow and by 5 weeks of age, a chick begs by lifting its head with each peep and holding its head hunched against its body. When chicks are pursued, they emit a shrill waver. The begging call and shrill waver exhibited by chicks are both similar to noises that adult gulls make. Chicks also peck at the red spot on their parent's bills in order to stimulate food regurgitation.
Communication Channels: visual ; acoustic
Other Communication Modes: duets
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