Difference Between Albatross and Seagull

Albatross vs Seagull

Both seagulls and albatross are important avian members those live around sea. Despite the similarity about their habitats, the differences between seagulls and albatross are notable. It is fair enough for someone to understand that these birds’ referred common names would correctly depict their habitats, but seagulls only partially inhabit the sea. Therefore, it would be important to be aware of these two interesting birds to identify them well.


Seagull is an informally referred name for the gulls, and they belong to the Family: Laridae of the Order: Charadriiformes. There are more than 55 living seagull species. Generally, seagulls are medium to large sized birds with bodies, but the two extremes (the smallest and the largest) have weights of 200 grams and 1.75 kilograms. Usually, they are gray to white in colour, with black markings on their head and wings depending on the species. Seagull can swim and dive well with their webbed-feet. They are predominantly carnivorous, but sometimes demonstrate opportunistic omnivorous feeding habits. Seagulls are predators of fish and crabs, and they open wide their long beaks to catch large preys. They generally inhabit either coastal or inland environments, and particularly nest on ground. The nests are large, densely packed, and noisy colonies of seagulls. Studies have confirmed that seagulls have complex communication methods and tool usages. They are blessed with long lives that could go as high as forty years.


Albatross are large to very large birds belong to the Family: Diomedeidae. There are about 20 species according to the common acceptance about their classification, and they live in Southern and North Pacific Oceans, but absent in North Arctic. Albatross have something special about them as they have the largest wingspans among all the birds, and they in fact are the largest among all the flying birds. Albatross are exclusively carnivorous and excellent divers. Their webbed-feet are adaptations for swimming and diving. They have long bills with sharp edges, and the end of the upper mandible has a large hook. Characteristically, their bill has several horny plates with two tubes running over the top of the bill give them an acute sense of smell. Albatross have an excellent adaptation to remove salt from their diet, in which they excrete salt through the glands in their nostrils. They do not have a hind toe, but the other forwardly directed three toes. Upper side of the albatross wings are darker while the undersides are black and white. They usually nest in remote oceanic islands and live up to 50 years. However, there are records of 80-year old albatross as well.

What is the difference between Albatross and Seagull?

• The albatross could be large to very large, while seagulls are medium to large in size.

• The Albatross have an adaptation to remove salt from their feed but it is not present in sea gulls.

• Seagulls inhabit inland or coastal environments, whereas albatross are always oceanic and barely stay on ground.

• The bill of albatross is a specially adapted weapon to attack marine creatures, while sea gulls have a long beak that can open wide to catch larger prey items.

• Albatross is an exclusive carnivore, but seagulls are omnivorous.

• Diversity is higher among seagulls with over 55 species, while albatross diversity is lower with only 21 species.

• Both seagulls and albatross have long lives, but albatross live a little longer.