Can you eat a seagull? (5 Compelling reasons not to)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you eat a seagull? We will discuss the reasons which make seagulls infamous regarding health and taste. We will explore the scientific and socioeconomic factors which make a seagull inedible and inaccessible.

Can you eat a seagull?

You cannot eat a seagull as it carries some bacteria and fungi which could seriously make a person ill. It is also prohibited to kill or eat seagulls according to the Migratory Bird Act passed in 1918. It is discouraged to eat both seagulls and eggs due to legal and safety reasons.

According to most conservative beliefs, seagulls are referred to as unclean meat. The carnivore bird has been known to ingest corpses which are backed up by evidence on scientific grounds and are capable of making a person ill.

Seagulls have very little meat in their body which needs to be handled cautiously to get rid of the toxins and parasites. Eating seagulls can be a lot of work as it requires you to isolate the intestine quickly and soak in salt water to get rid of the toxins. Even so, it does not guarantee the safety of the meat. 

Besides harboring bacteria, fungi, and parasites, the seagulls sometimes pick up poisonous elements such as mercury, PCB, and lead.

The stringy, fishy taste that seagulls have is generally disliked by most of the population. The taste is often compared to that of a crow if you have ever tried one. It has an oily, tough, and stringy texture which might make it further difficult to ingest for a person.

Why is it illegal to hunt and eat a seagull?

The Migratory bird act protects all migratory birds, the category under which seagulls fall. IN the US, the seagull is the mascot of San Francisco, California. Besides the US, seagulls are also legally protected in the UK, Canada, and Australia. 

In the UK, it is forbidden to shoot seagulls for sport and recreation. More recently, in 1933, a law was passed as the Protection of Birds Act which reinforced the killing of these animals.

In Canada, a similar law prohibits people from killing or harming these birds under the Canadian Migratory Birds Convention Act. In Australia, there are some scattered laws that individually retrain the killing or harming of seagulls to preserve the species. 

Other FAQs about Eat wild animals which you may be interested in.

Can you eat a Shark? 

Can you eat a cockroach?

Can you eat Canadian geese?

Why must you avoid eating a seagull?

Seagulls do not taste well due to their poor diet. The taste of seagulls is like a fish rubber band, in addition, it could taste gamey as well. Seagulls eat anything and everything that they can find including trash, dead fish, and small animals. Seagulls carry diseases and parasites picked on by eating dead animals. Even the eggs of seagulls contain salmonella and paratyphoid. 

Migratory birds such as seagulls carry over 60 diseases that can be transmitted not only via the digestive system but also close contact with the dropping, feather, and by other means.

Let us delve into the diseases associated with seagulls and similar birds. 

E. coli

The E. coli or Escherichia coli is spread by seagulls which causes gastroenteritis and septicemia. The bacteria cause serious gastrointestinal problems and this form of food poisoning sometimes requires medical attention.

 Fungus and Parasites

The birds’ waste carries a fungus called Histoplasmosis and Cryptococcosis which could also have adverse effects on health. Seagulls are meat-eaters which means that they also carry trichinella.


Salmonella is present in the feces of birds. The bacteria can cause Salmonellosis and Paratyphoid fever. Bird droppings also contain spores which can cause life-threatening respiratory diseases.


The respiratory system of birds such as seagulls is different from humans, which comes with a bacterium that can seriously harm people. The presence of psittaci in birds can cause respiratory and systemic infections in humans.

Was seagull ever consumed in history?

Surprisingly enough, seagulls have been a part of the diet in England for over a century ago. The Herring gulls were cooked into gull pies, smoked gulls, gull souffle, and marinated gull and mint. People who experienced the adverse winters in World War II were compelled to eat seagulls. 

It was common meat among ethnicities who experienced harsh winters. Other people who ate gulls include the Coast Salish, Kwakiutl, Hare, Alaskan cultures, Red Earth Cree and Hudson Bay, and Labrador Inuit. Some of these people used weapons such as stones, slingshots, traps, bow, and arrows while people of the north hunted gulls with bare hands. 

The gulls were cooked by fire roasting or steaming over hot rocks. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you eat a seagull? We discussed the reasons which make seagulls infamous regarding health and taste. We explored the scientific and socioeconomic factors which make a seagull inedible and inaccessible.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.