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Laughing Gull - Larus atricilla

Laughing gull


 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Charadriiformes
 Family: Laridae
 Genus:   Larus
ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern


Laughing GullThe laughing gull is medium-sized gull 15-17 inches in length, with a wingspan of 37-47 inches. It has a black head and neck; a white breast and belly; a slate gray back; slate gray wings with back tips; and a dark red bill that is slightly hooked on the end. Its feet and legs are a reddish black. In the winter, its black head is greyish-white. Males and females look alike.


mapThe laughing gull breeds along the Atlantic Coast from Canada south to Florida and the Caribbean and along the Gulf Coast. It winters from Virginia south to South America and along the Gulf Coast, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The laughing gull is rarely found inland, and usually it is not found far out at sea.


The laughing gull is found on marshes, beaches, barrier islands, estuaries, and bays.


Laughing GullThe laughing gull eats mollusks, fish, bird eggs, young birds, squid, crabs and other crustaceans, insects, carrion, and garbage. It feeds on the water and on land. It swoops down to the water and skims the surface for food or it dives into the water. It also scavenges for food on land and it catches insects in the air, in fact, if food is tossed in the air, the laughing gull can easily snatch it up! It also fights other birds for food!

Life Cycle

Laughing GullThe laughing gull nests in colonies with other gulls and terns. The male and female build a platform nest of grass and weeds placed in in tall grass or shrubs. Occasionally, the laughing gull nests on open ground. The female lays 2-4 eggs. The eggs are incubated for 20-23 days by both parents. Chicks leave the nest a few days after hatching, but their parents care for them until they fledge when they are 35 days old.


Laughing GullThe laughing gull gets it name for its loud and high-pitched "ha ha ha ha ha ha" laughing call. It is a social bird and hunts, rests, nests, and migrates in groups.

Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Ian Davies cc logo