Where Do Seagulls Go At Night?

Seagulls are not nocturnal but diurnal, so they will normally sleep at night

Although some seagulls can still be active at night with the help of city lights, many of them will go to many different places to go to sleep.

Question is – where do seagulls sleep at night?

Most will sleep in the water or in a nest if they’re protecting a chick.

However, these birds can also sleep elsewhere that have broad open spaces such as parking lots, parks, or beaches.

Here’s what you’re going to discover in this article

  • Where do seagulls go when it’s dark? (Answered in detail)
  • Where do seagulls go to sleep?
  • Other birds that fly at night (Interesting stuff)

Sound good?

Let’s get started!

What Do Seagulls Go At Night?

Most seagull species are diurnal, meaning that they are active during the day and do not fly around as much at night.

However, some gulls can still be active at night time.

This is especially common in urban areas where there are city lights to guide the seagulls to food even at night.

Most of the time, seagulls will fly out to sea at night to stay away from predators and intruders.

But with the presence of city lights, seagulls can take advantage of the absence of humans and go scavenging for food.

This is why these diurnal birds are seen flying at night in places with high human population.

Seagulls are opportunistic scavenger birds that will eat anything they can find.

Although their usual diet consists of fish, insects, eggs, and sometimes even other smaller birds, seagulls will also eat human leftovers and trash.

Using the bright lights available in cities, seagulls will fly around in search of food even when it’s dark. 

Related article – Do seagulls fly at night?

Where Do Seagulls Sleep?

Most seagulls will go to sleep at night once the sun goes down.

There are many different places that a seagull can roost and rest.

Generally, these birds will sleep in the water or in their nests if they have a chick they’re protecting.

However, this is not their only option.

Seagulls will sleep anywhere that has a broad open space where other birds can let them know if there is any potential danger.

This means, seagulls will even sleep in parks, rooftops, beaches, and fields.

Seagulls are extremely clever and the reason they sleep in these large spaces with members of their huge colony comes with an explanation.

Seagull colonies can reach up to several hundred thousand members and these large numbers help each other from danger.

If any potential danger pops up in their vicinity, seagull will use their squawks and body movements to warn the other members of their colony.

It’s a defensive strategy for these gulls to sleep in open spaces.

It might be worth mentioning that some seagulls are seen a bit further away from the ocean in search of food.

These birds will scavenge in picnic areas, parking lots or even dump sites to fill their stomachs.

In cases like this, seagulls will typically roost in a large body of freshwater as calm bodies of water are their preferred sleeping spot.

However, as mentioned, seagulls can also sleep anywhere else that has an open space. 

Do Seagulls Sleep?

Yes, seagulls do sleep

Seagulls sleep at night

You probably would not see them though


Because they look for a safe environment in order to be protected from any attack

How do seagulls sleep?

They sleep but they open and close their eyes periodically

This type of sleeping is called unihemispheric

A seagull sleeps in this manner because it helps them sufficient rest but also it helps them stay alert to monitor their surroundings

This is important as seagulls are preys for larger birds so they can’t be fully in deep sleep

When Do Seagulls Sleep?

Seagulls usually sleep at night as they are diurnal which pretty much means they sleep at night

But seagulls won’t follow strict sleeping patterns like how chickens do

Some seagulls don’t sleep at night which is why you sometimes would see them flying at night

Other Birds That Fly At Night

Most birds can be divided into two categories: diurnal and nocturnal.

Most birds are diurnal and sleep at night in a safe spot.

However, some birds will be active and fly during nighttime.

Some of the reasons for this include:

  • They are nocturnal
  • They are diurnal but forage for food at night
  • They are diurnal but they’ve been disturbed from their sleep
  • They are diurnal but continue to protect their territory at night
  • They are diurnal but they migrate at night

So what are some of the common bird species that fly at night?

The first species that comes to mind is the owl.

Owls are fully nocturnal and you may have heard them flapping their wings and hunting at night.

You can’t miss their distinctive owl calls at night.

Nightjars are also nocturnal animals but they are also described as crepuscular, meaning that they are active during dawn and dusk.

These birds can be found foraging for food and flying about looking for insects to eat.

A couple of species of herons are also classified as nocturnal, flying around and hunting at night.

During the day, you can find these birds roosting in small groups for protection.

Albatrosses and many other types of seabirds also feed at night.

This is because squid and other ocean animals that they like to snack on are more likely to rise to the surface at nighttime.

Why Do You Never See Dead Seagulls?

Interesting question as you see so many seagulls but never a dead one

What’s the reason for this?

Well, you see, seagulls that are sick usually go into hiding

They won’t fly around as they can be a target for raptors and other sorts of predators

So they hide and stay hidden and if they die, there body rots so this attracts scavengers of all kinds to quickly eat the dead body

If the skeleton is not eaten, they quickly decay because they are very delicate

Which means there is no trace of a dead seagull

You may see feathers as feathers stick around more than the bones

The earth also uses the elements of the dead birds body to help grow nutrients in the soil

This means more plants can grow nearby which is great for the planet!

And this is how the cycle of life continues

Pretty interesting right?

Here’s an interesting article I wrote which I think you’d find intriguing too – Where do seagulls go to die?

What Is The Lifespan Of An Seagull?

There are many different species of seagulls

So their lifespan can vary

Did you know, in North America, there are 23 species of gulls

Some species have a lifespan of 30 years while others only live for 10 – 15 years

Their lifespan is affected by various factors such as

  • Availability of food
  • Protection from predators
  • Weather

Related article you may find interesting

Where do seagulls lay their eggs?

Wrapping Up 

After having your sandwich stolen by a brave seagull, you might wonder: where exactly do these loud birds go at night?

Seagulls are nocturnal creatures and will go to sleep on large open spaces with their colony.

However, with the presence of city lights, it’s become more common to see seagulls actively scavenging for food.

These intelligent birds know how to use their environment to their advantage and will even eat our leftover food in the trash.

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