Humans should be impressed when seagulls swipe their food.

Seagulls use smart tactics to steal food

Seagulls use smart tactics to steal food

Scientists from the University of Sussex argue that the tactics of the winged pests should be considered "charismatic" as it demonstrates their high level of intellect.

A team carried out a study on Brighton's seafront using crisp packets that demonstrated how the birds are able to mimic the food choices of humans.

Professor Paul Graham, professor of neuroethology at the university, told the BBC: "When we see behaviours we think of as mischievous or criminal - almost, we're seeing a really clever bird implementing very intelligent behaviour.

"I think we need to learn how to live with them."

The expert added: "While we know that animals learn from each other, we rarely see animals learning from a totally different species when it comes to food preferences.

"This interaction with humans is relatively modern, and what we can see is that gulls have adapted to thrive in urban environments by mimicking human food choices.

"Gulls didn't evolve to like chips. Over time they have had to learn to engage with humans in order to source food.

"It is therefore a sign of intelligence."