MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: Why are there no seagulls in Hawaii?

Date: Thu Sep 30 11:58:09 1999
Posted By: Kurt Wollenberg, Post Doc Genetics, North Carolina State University
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 937016538.Gb

After perusing the range maps in Harrison's "Seabirds: An Identification 
Guide", it appears that there are two main reasons there are no gulls in 
Hawaii. First, Hawaii is a fairly isolated group of islands. Second, 
judging from the range maps, gulls generally aren't found very far from 
large land masses. It appears that gulls are not predisposed to long 
distance movements over water, like terns would be. The islands where gulls 
are found generally tend to be fairly close to the mainland or "connected" 
by other islands in a chain (such as the Aleutians). There appear to be 
records of a few species of gulls making appearences in Hawaii, but these 
are probably birds that have been blown that way by storms. 

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