Right off the bat, the world/setting that this takes place in is not the pinnacle of realistic, but I do want to have a bit of realism. Anyway, so in this story, really more of an idea,there is an action-figure named Rina that at times rides around on a talking and human-level intelligence seagull named Lafa she has befriended. And by rides on I mean like flies on, since she can walk on her own. So, putting aside obvious fantasy elements, can an average,let us say male ring-billed gull, still take-off and fly with an average plastic,6 inch tall action-figure mounted on his back?

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    $\begingroup$ Amazon is telling me most of these weight between 3.5oz and 5.2oz. Call it 4 to be even. This seems approximate to the weight of other things that I've seen them fly away with, I'm betting they can probably fly indefinitely even with two on their backs. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Aug 23, 2021 at 20:06
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    $\begingroup$ Would that be an African or European seagull? $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Aug 23, 2021 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ Ring-billed seagulls are a North American species.@qami $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2021 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ @ConanHighwoods Sorry! It was a pop-culture reference I couldn't resist making. :) youtube.com/watch?v=uio1J2PKzLI $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Aug 23, 2021 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, lol!!! What was it you were making a reference to?@Qami $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2021 at 20:14

4 Answers 4



seagull riding seagull


This is pretty fantastic. What the heck were these two up to? If this video is faked, it faked me out good.

Maybe the ridden seagull is practicing with his buddy so Rina gets a smooth ride.

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    $\begingroup$ Holy crap. That is awesome. It also looks like the carrier seagull can't generate enough lift by itself, and the rider keeps opening its wings for balance and they start to rise again. $\endgroup$
    – OhkaBaka
    Aug 23, 2021 at 22:29
  • $\begingroup$ @OhkaBaka: You know it's just one nine second video clip looped three times, right? The "rider" only closes its wings once (presumably after landing) and then opens them a few seconds later before taking off. Still pretty cool, though. $\endgroup$ Aug 24, 2021 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ I'd bet this video is fake. It's been shared hundreds of thousands of times, yet nobody came forward and said "I shot this". No information where and when this supposedly happened. Only rather superficial reporting about it. $\endgroup$ Aug 24, 2021 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ @jcsahnwaldtReinstateMonica I WANT TO BELIEVE $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Aug 24, 2021 at 21:32
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    $\begingroup$ @nick012000 something like that. Or possibly even just horseplay, I cannot gender a seagull at that range from a blurry video. But their natural behaviour set includes piggyback rides, so it's very easy for that behaviour to appear at other times as well. There is absolutely no reason to believe the video is fake, thus it serves as solid enough evidence for a "yes" answer to the OP's question of the load-carryign ability of a seagull. $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Aug 26, 2021 at 10:43

Yes it can.

Is your world hyper-realistic? No. Is it at least feasible? Yes. Then you have your answer I think, give yourself permission to draw your own lines.

...besides which, I've seen a seagull fly off with a cheeseburger that weighed more than a four ounces.

To ratchet it down, you can add some realism by discussing how Rina stays attached... how she stays on, how she limits the impact of her not-aerodynamic form on Lafa's flight capability.


Birds can typically carry about half their bodyweight, though only downhill.

This six inch action figure weighs 8 ounces, or 0.2 kilos. An average seagull might weigh a kilo to a kilo and a half for a male, or 0.7 kilos to 1.1 kilos for a female.

A female bird on the smaller size would probably struggle getting up with an action figure, since they're close to three times as big as an action figure, and so are close to the only fly down weight limit. A male bird on the larger size would have little trouble, weighing 7 times more than an action figure.


If depends on the species of "seagull", but a herring gull has been recorded as attacking and carrying off a chihuahua dog, weight around 1kg.

The usually live in flocks, so if one bird finds a substantial item of food its first reaction is to carry it away to somewhere safe, rather than be forced to share it with the other gulls.

Carrying a plastic figure would be no problem at all.


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