The Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) is a medium-sized gull of North and South America. This species is easy to identify. It is 36–41 cm (14–16 in) long with a 98–110 cm (39–43 in) wingspan. The summer adult’s body is white apart from the dark gray back and wings and black head. Its wings are much darker gray than all other gulls of similar size except the smaller Franklin’s Gull, and they have black tips without the white crescent shown by Franklin’s. The beak is long and red. The black hood is mostly lost in winter.
The Laughing Gull’s English name is derived from its raucous kee-agh call, which sounds like a high-pitched laugh “ha… ha… ha…”. [Wikipedia]
Swirling over beaches with strident calls and a distinctive, crisp black head, Laughing Gulls provide sights and sounds evocative of summer on the East Coast. You’ll run across this handsome gull in large numbers at beaches, docks, and parking lots, where they wait for handouts or fill the air with their raucous calls. Laughing Gulls are summer visitors to the Northeast and year-round sights on the coasts of the Southeast and the Gulf of Mexico. [All About Birds]
Laughing Gull Facts [All About Birds]
- Nest colonies in the northeastern United States were nearly eliminated by egg and plume hunters in the late 19th century. Populations have increased over the last century, following protection.
- The male and female Laughing Gull usually build their nest together. If a male cannot find a mate, he may start building a nest platform and then use it to attract a female.
- The adult Laughing Gull removes the eggshells from the nest after the eggs hatch. If the shells are not removed, a piece can become lodged on top of the slightly smaller unhatched third egg and prevent it from hatching.
- The oldest known Laughing Gull was at least 22 years old when it was killed in Maine in 2009, the same state where it had been banded in 1987.