Laughing Gull

The Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) is a medium-sized gull species found along the coasts of North and South America. Adult Laughing Gulls are approximately 16-18 inches in length, with a wingspan of about 40 inches. They weigh around 9-13 ounces, with males being slightly larger than females.

Laughing Gull

Laughing Gulls are easily identifiable by their striking black head, dark gray wings, and white body. During breeding season, their heads turn completely black, with a small white crescent-shaped patch above their eyes. Their beaks are long and slender, and are a bright red color during breeding season, fading to a dark blackish color during non-breeding periods. Juvenile birds have a mottled brown and white plumage, which gradually turns into the adult plumage by the end of their first year.

Laughing Gulls are known for their distinctive “laughing” call, which consists of a series of short, sharp “ha-ha-ha” sounds. They are also known for their aerial acrobatics, often diving and swooping low over the water in search of food. Laughing Gulls are opportunistic feeders and will eat a variety of prey, including fish, crustaceans, insects, and even garbage.

Laughing Gulls are migratory birds, spending their winters along the coasts of Central and South America, and breeding along the coasts of the southern United States, the Caribbean, and northern South America. Breeding season for Laughing Gulls usually occurs from April to July, with females laying 2-4 eggs in a shallow scrape on the ground. The eggs are incubated for around 24-28 days, and the chicks fledge about 35-40 days after hatching.

Overall, the Laughing Gull is a charismatic and easily recognizable bird species with striking field marks and a unique vocalization. Their seasonal migration and opportunistic feeding habits make them an important part of coastal ecosystems in the Americas.

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