Birds of the Bible – Sea Gulls

Mew Gull (Larus canus) by Robert Scanlon

Mew Gull (Larus canus) by Robert Scanlon

the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after its kind; (Leviticus 11:16 NKJV)

The Sea Gull has been upgraded to an official Bird of the Bible here on this blog. The article “Birds of the Bible – A Gull?” was written when I first discovered the Gull in my reading, per article. The Gull now has it’s own Birds of the Bible – Sea Gulls page and it shows up in the sidebar along with the others birds mentioned in the Scriptures.

After updating my E-sword program and loading every English Bible Translation they have available, (for free and a few paid ones) I have been comparing the Leviticus 11:13-19 and the Deuteronomy 14:12-18 sections with a spreadsheet. That is the list of unclean birds that the Israelites were told not to eat. (Just because the different versions are being compared does not mean that this writer is in agreement with all of them or their stand.)

Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) chick-egg nest ©USFWS

Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) chick-egg nest ©USFWS

Here is an analysis of words used in those verses for the Sea Gull:
(Mouse over initials for full name of translation)

Leviticus 11:15 or 16:

gull – ABP+, MKJV
sea-gull or sea gull – DARBY, ESV, NAS77, NASB, NKJB
sea gulls – ERV, GW
seamew – ASV
sea-mew – BRENTON, JPS
sea meaw – RV
sea-hawk – BBE
larus – DRB
Different bird used –
(cuckow) – KJV & WEBSTER ,
(cuckoo) – YLT

Deuteronomy 14:15:

The word was use the same in both verses except in these translations:
LITV used – “gull” in Lev. and “sea gull” in Deut.
MKJV used – “gull” in Lev. and “cuckoo” in Deut.

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) Lk Hollingsworth by Lee

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) Lk Hollingsworth by Lee

Why bother in the first place to compare them, you ask? I still find it amazing how different translations vary in their description of the birds. The differences do not affect the doctrines of the Word of God, nor will they affect my faith in the Lord. So far, none of the differences have affected my appetite to eat any of the birds listed. Whether they are Sea Gulls or a Cuckoos, they still won’t end up on my dinner plate.

What it does do though is to give good reason to make the Gull a Bird of the Bible and give them their own page.

And the ostrich, and the owl, and the larus, and the hawk according to its kind: (Deuteronomy 14:15 DRB)
and the ostrich, and the night-hawk, and the sea-mew, and the hawk after its kind, (Deuteronomy 14:15 ASV)

One of the words used was “larus” which happens to be one of the Genus of Gulls and contains a Mew Gull which sounds similar to a “sea mew or seameaw”. Interesting.  Also the Laridae is the Gulls, Terns & Skimmers Family name.

The Larus Genus includes:
Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus)
Belcher’s Gull (Larus belcheri)
Olrog’s Gull (Larus atlanticus)
Black-tailed Gull (Larus crassirostris)
Heermann’s Gull (Larus heermanni)
Mew Gull (Larus canus)
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
California Gull (Larus californicus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus)
Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens)
Western Gull (Larus occidentalis)
Yellow-footed Gull (Larus livens)
Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus)
Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides)
European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
American Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus)
Vega Gull (Larus vegae)
Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
Armenian Gull (Larus armenicus)
Slaty-backed Gull (Larus schistisagus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)

The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. (Psalms 77:18-19 KJV)

European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) by Keith Blomerley – An adult on the sea trying to steal food from a Common Eider


3 thoughts on “Birds of the Bible – Sea Gulls

    • Thanks, Alan.
      It is amazing, but then not everyone would spread them all out on a spreadsheet. I have some more interesting differences I am working on. Thanks for stopping by and I signed up for your email notices on your blog.


  1. It’s actually a nice and useful piece of info. I’m glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.


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