Marine clowns often gather in beaches in large numbers, especially during the summer, for they are gregarious and communal creatures. However, this does expose them to predation by clown-eating gulls.

The gulls will not take clowns from large groups, as their prey will sound an alarm and huddle together for protection. Instead, clown-eating gulls prefer to pick off stragglers. They will circle before diving and then sinking their claws into their prey to carry it off. The forlorn honking of a victim’s nose is often the only sign that a gull has taken its prey.

When the gulls have eaten the clown or fed it to their young, they also ingest the quantities of greasepaint and zaniness that they need to maintain their polka-dotted plumage, much like wild flamingoes.

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