Can you eat "Seagull"?

I heard that someone went camping on the beach, and for dinner they decided to shoot and kill a seagull. They roasted it on a fire and they liked it, and then proceeded to get violently “i’m going to die” ill for 3 days.

So anybody know the edibility factor of seagulls? Are they really inedible, if so why? Or is it just ones by human-populated beaches that have eaten weird things (fast food leftovers, etc?)?

Gulls are certainly edible, and at one time were regularly eaten in various places in Europe. It’s possible that, depending on diet, they may sometimes have a fishy taste.

Gulls, being at the top of the food chain, could accumulate toxins in their flesh. However, this is unlikely to be the explanation for the illness you heard about. If the gull had been feeding on carrion or other waste, they might have gotten bacteria on their hands in handling or preparing it, and this could have been the source of the illness rather than the gull meat itself.

I suspect this is an urban legend. I might try snopes on this one first.

There are organisms which concentrate toxins, most notably shellfish, which concentrate the toxins produced by dinoflagellates, to the point that a bit of shellfish the size of a matchhead can be deadly.

The other possibility is that the group in question may have had issues with plucking, cleaning and cooking a seagull, unless they commonly dress wild game, so common-or-garden variety food poisoning may be the answer, rather than a seagull-specific issue.

PS: Incidentally, this
thread, while not directly germane to the issue of eating seagulls,
may be relevant to scrambledeggs, the poster of the OP, if she or he is reading.
Sorry if this is a highjack, I was actually interested in the seagull question, and thought I would add the heads-up as well.

If it is edible …

What flavor is it?

I have always heard that if you put a seagull and a brick into the oven together, after three hours the brick will be more tender and tastier than the gull.

At times it was illegal to consume shore birds, like the gulls. There is the tale of the butcher in Germany who made sausage from various birds he killed. Eventually the police showed up and had him arrested. He was charged with taking a tern for the wurst.

Sort of a cross between passenger pigeon and dodo.

Ah, pido. Just like Mother used to make.

Tastes like chicken, of course.

Albatross. Like the ice cream.



Do you get wafers with it?

'Course you don’t get bloody wafers with it.

Well, there are people who eat rats, so gulls wouldn’t be much different.

I’ll have two, please.

Muttonbirds are seabirds that are caught for food. Not bad, but pretty oily.


Puffins are a delicacy in Iceland, and were also eaten in the Hebrides of Scotland. They’re not gulls, strictly speaking, but they are seabirds that live on fish.

When and why did it officially become “gull?” (Sorry for the hijack)

Puffins might not be so bad, but I saw Bourdain’s show on Iceland (also Globe Trekker’s), and let’s just say that a lot of things considered delicacies in Iceland would be considered more effective than Ipecac for the rest of us.

Gulls are a family of birds. Seagull is a common (non-scientific) name that is used to cover a range of birds. It’s not specific to any particular species.