Laughing Gull
Larus atricilla
Family Laridae

A smallish gull with an easily spotted black head in the breeding adult, the Laughing Gull is common along the eastern coast. It is tolerant of human-altered habitats and can be found scavenging in parking lots and dumpsters.

Identifying Traits (both sexes):

  • Dark, slate-gray back, which blends into black wingtips
  • White underparts
  • In summer, head is black with a dark red bill. In winter, head is white with a black-smudged bill and dusky nape.
  • First year juveniles have dark, mottled brown bodies and heads.
  • Size: 39-46 cm (15-18')
  • Weight: 203-371 g (7.17-13.1 oz)
 
 
  Adult male  
     

Voice: Call rapid, then slowing, a loud laughing like ha ha ha ha ha haah haah haah.

Habitat: Salt marshes, coastal bays, beaches, piers, parks and parking lots.

Range: The Laughing Gull can be found all along the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, and also in southern California.

Interesting Facts: The Laughing Gull male will make sure to remove all eggshells from hatched eggs. If this is not done, bits of egg can get stuck on top of unhatched eggs, which may prevent them from hatching.

 
 

 

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