Articles on this page are available in 1 other language: Spanish (7) (learn more)

Overview

Brief Summary

Leucophaeus atricilla

A medium-sized (16-17 inches) seagull, the Laughing Gull in summer is most easily identified by its dark gray wings with black tips, black head, dark orange legs, and red bill. In winter, this species loses much of the color on its head and bill, becoming dark-billed with a gray smudge on its crown. Young birds are brownish-gray overall, and are often confused with young gulls of other species. Male and female Laughing Gulls are similar to one another in all seasons. The Laughing Gull breeds along the entire Atlantic coast of the United States, along the Gulf coast from Florida to Texas, and in the West Indies. Populations breeding in the northeast are migratory, wintering further south along the coast of the U.S.or in Mexico, Central America, and South America. Populations breeding in warmer areas are generally non-migratory. Laughing Gulls breed on rocky or sandy islands and beaches by lakes, in marshes, and along the coast. Birds breeding in the tropics may nest on mangrove islands. In general, this species utilizes similar kinds of habitats in winter as in summer. Laughing Gulls eat a variety of foods, including crustaceans, fish, carrion, garbage, and, more rarely, bird eggs. Laughing Gulls are most easily seen foraging for food along sandy beaches. In many coastal areas, this is one of the most common “seagulls,” and may be seen foraging for refuse and carrion on the beach, flying over the water and plunging in to catch fish, or floating on the water’s surface while catching fish with its bill. Laughing Gulls are primarily active during the day.

Threat Status: Least concern

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Unknown

Supplier: DC Birds

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

The Laughing Gull is a coastal bird found from Nova Scotia to Venezuela. (Peterson, 1998) Except around the Salton Sea, the Laughing Gull is rarely found inland. (Scott, 1987) It also ranges from southeastern California to western Mexico, and winters as far north as southern United States to Venezuela. (Peterson, 1980)

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); neotropical (Native )

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range Description

The Laughing Gull is found in North, Cental and South America. It breeds year-round on the eastern coast of Mexico, and on the western coast of the three continents from North Carolina (USA) down to Venezuala including the Carribean. It also breeds seasonally on the eastern coast of the USA from North Carolina to Maine, wintering from Mexico down to Peru, and down to the mouth of the Amazon (Brazil) (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDS: Pacific coast in Sonora and Sinaloa; Atlantic-Gulf-Caribbean region from southern New Brunswick (formerly) and southern Nova Scotia (formerly) south locally to Florida, west to southern Texas, through West Indies (major concentration on islands east of Puerto Rico, through Anegada Island) to northern coast of South America. Largest concentration in Florida is in the Tampa Bay area. Outside Florida, most of the U.S. Gulf Coast nesting population is in Texas, the rest in Louisiana. See Spendelow and Patton (1988) for further details. Formerly nested in southern California at the southern end of Salton Sea. Attempted nesting at western Lake Erie in 1984. Has not nested in eastern Canada since the early 1960s (see Belant and Dolbeer 1993). NORTHERN WINTER: Pacific coast from southern Mexico to northern Peru; North Carolina and Gulf Coast south to northern South America (Colombia to Amazon delta); casual in Hawaii.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

North America; from Atlantic provinces to the Gulf States
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Atlantic and Gulf coasts of North America. South to Peru and Brazil. Pacific coast of South America.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Gulf of Maine - CoML

Source: Gulf of Maine Area Census of Marine Life

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

As a juvenile, the Laughing Gull has a complete tail band, gray wash on the nape, dark brown wings, and a brown head and body. During its first winter, the Laughing Gull acquires a slate gray color on its back and sides, but keeps all other characteristics. A second summer bird has a partial hood and some spotting on the tail. As it approaches its second winter, the Laughing Gull looks similar to the second summer bird, except that it lacks a hood, and has gray wash on the sides of its breast. During breeding, the Laughing Gulls' plumage has a black hood, white under-parts, and slate gray wings with black outer primaries. (Scott, 1987)

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Average mass: 275.6 g.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Size

Length: 42 cm

Weight: 325 grams

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Length: 38-43 cm, Wingspan: 99-107 cm
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Gulf of Maine - CoML

Source: Gulf of Maine Area Census of Marine Life

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Laughing Gulls prefer nesting on barrier beaches and estuarine islands with moderate to dense vegetation. (Arnold and Golder 1997)

Aquatic Biomes: coastal

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is strictly coastal when breeding, being found on vegetated sandy beaches, islands, salt-marshes, and on the tops of rocky islands. It lays from mid- to late May in the north, and in late April in Florida. Colonies form from dozens of individuals to 10,000 pairs. Its diet is comprised of aquatic invertebrates and insects, but also fish, scraps and refuse. It can be kleptoparasitic on Brown Pelicans (del Hoyo et al. 1996).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments: BREEDING: Seacoasts, bays, estuaries, rarely on large inland bodies of water (AOU 1983). Choice of nest site flexible; in different areas may nest on salt marshes (New Jersey), dunes, beaches, shell and shingle ridges of coast and offshore islands, on ground in tall herbage or weeds, or among bushes (Puerto Rico) (Harrison 1978, Burger and Gochfield 1985). Along the northern Atlantic coast south to Massachusetts, nests usually on rocky islands in areas of dense AMMOPHILA and LATHYRUS or under and around MYRICA bushes. From New York to Virginia, nests almost exclusively on tidal salt marshes on or near mats of dead vegetation in tall grasses just above high-tide line. Farther south on Atlantic and Gulf coasts, nests on mats of SPARTINA or, more often, in drier areas on spoil islands or next to clumps of low vegetation in low swales between dunes. In extreme southern Florida, small colonies nest in interior sections of keys on open marl flats or among low herbaceous plants (Spendelow and Patton 1988). NON-BREEDING: Large flocks rest on salt-pond dikes and sandspits (Costa Rica, Stiles and Skutch 1989).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Depth range based on 2348 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1834 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 275
  Temperature range (°C): -0.343 - 27.379
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.286 - 15.199
  Salinity (PPS): 30.701 - 36.503
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.767 - 8.415
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.054 - 0.976
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.769 - 8.360

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 275

Temperature range (°C): -0.343 - 27.379

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.286 - 15.199

Salinity (PPS): 30.701 - 36.503

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.767 - 8.415

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.054 - 0.976

Silicate (umol/l): 0.769 - 8.360
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Salt marshes, coastal bays, piers, beaches, open ocean, dredge spoil islands.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Gulf of Maine - CoML

Source: Gulf of Maine Area Census of Marine Life

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Northern populations migratory. In Puerto Rico, common breeder but rare in winter except in San Juan Harbor (Raffaele 1983). In Costa Rica, migration mainly late September-November and early April to mid-May (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Travels to southern parts of range in winter.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Gulf of Maine - CoML

Source: Gulf of Maine Area Census of Marine Life

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Trophic Strategy

The Laughing Gull has a highly varied diet. It is a carnivore as well as a scavenger. In the wild, it will eat insects, fish, shellfish, and crabs. (Patuxent Wildlife Center, 1998) They can get their food from the water while they are airborne by either skimming the surface or diving. (Patuxent Bird ID InfoCenter, 1998) The Laughing Gull is not the most efficient fisherman, and often steals food from pelicans or terns after they have made a catch. (Honolulu Zoo, 2000) The Laughing Gull also gets food from man-made sources such as garbage, sewage, refuse from fishing boats, and anything tossed to them by humans. (Patuxent Bird ID InfoCenter, 1998)

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments: Eats small fishes caught at surface of water, worms in wet fields, garbage, and sometimes eggs and young of sea birds (Terres 1980); chases crabs on mudflats, hawks flying insects (Stiles and Skutch 1989). May pirate food from brown pelican.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Crustaceans, insects, fish mainly. Also earthworms, snails, garbage, horseshoe crab eggs, and bird eggs.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Gulf of Maine - CoML

Source: Gulf of Maine Area Census of Marine Life

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

Known prey organisms

Larus atricilla (Gulls and Terns) preys on:
Pagurus
Pagurus maclaughlinae
Libinia dubia
Pinixia floridana
Neopanope texana
Callinectes sapidus
Processa bermudiensis
Penaeus duoarum
Palaemonetes floridanus
Anchoa mitchilli
Menidia beryllina
Laridae
Cyprinodon variegatus

Based on studies in:
USA: Florida (Estuarine)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Christian RR, Luczkovich JJ (1999) Organizing and understanding a winter’s seagrass foodweb network through effective trophic levels. Ecol Model 117:99–124
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Expectancy

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
238 months.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 19.8 years (wild) Observations: Maximum longevity from banding studies in 19.8 years (http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBL/homepage/longvrec.htm).
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Joao Pedro de Magalhaes

Source: AnAge

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reproduction

The Laughing Gull is a colonial breeder that may nest with other gulls or terns. Nests are found primarily along coastal bays, salt marshes, and estuaries. Sometimes they can be found near agricultural and industrial areas. Nests are five centimeters high and eight centimeters wide, and are constructed of sticks and grass. Laughing Gulls have a typical clutch consisting of one to three olive-brown eggs with dark brown spots. (Patuxent Bird ID InfoCenter, 1998) The length of incubation is 20 days, and the Laughing Gull takes 35 days to fledge. The Laughing Gull only has one brood per breeding season. (Patuxent Bird Population Studies, 1998)

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; oviparous

Average time to hatching: 20 days.

Average eggs per season: 3.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Lays clutch of 3-4 eggs, May-July (mostly June) in Virginia, April-June in Louisiana and Texas, May-June in Puerto Rico. Incubation lasts 20-23 days. Young are tended by both parents, first fly at 4-6 weeks? Tends to nest in large dense colony (sometimes 10,000s).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Breeds in colonies with nest built (by both sexes) on ground near some cover (grasses, etc.). 3 eggs incubated by both partners for about 20 days. Young are fed by both parents. First flight takes place around 5 weeks old.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Gulf of Maine - CoML

Source: Gulf of Maine Area Census of Marine Life

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Larus atricilla

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 8 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

NNNNNNNNTAATCTTCGGCGCATGAGCTGGCATAGTAGGTACTGCCCTCAGCCTGCTTATTCGTGCAGAACTTGGCCAACCCGGAACCCTCCTAGGAGACGATCAAATCTATAACGTAATCGTCACCGCCCACGCCTTCGTGATAATCTTCTTCATAGTGATACCAATCATGATCGGTGGATTCGGAAACTGATTAGTCCCACTTATAATCGGTGCCCCTGACATAGCATTTCCACGCATAAACAACATAAGCTTCTGACTGTTACCCCCATCATTCCTACTCCTCCTAGCCTCTTCCACAGTAGAAGCTGGAGCTGGTACAGGGTGAACAGTATACCCACCTCTAGCTGGCAATCTAGCCCATGCTGGAGCCTCAGTAGACCTAGCAATCTTCTCTCTTCACTTAGCAGGTGTATCTTCCATTCTAGGCGCTATTAACTTCATCACTACAGCCATCAACATAAAACCCCCTGCCCTCTCACAATATCAAACCCCACTATTTGTATGATCCGTACTCATCACTGCCGTCCTATTACTACTTTCACTCCCAGTGCTTGCCGCAGGCATTACTATGCTACTCACAGACCGAAACCTAAACACAACATTCTTTGATCCCGCCGGGGGCGGTGACCCTGTACTGTATCAACACCTCNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

Download FASTA File

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Larus atricilla

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 7
Specimens with Barcodes: 13
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

At one time, the Laughing Gull was hunted and killed for its fine plumage which was then used by milliners to make hats. Over the years, it has been protected, and is no longer threatened. (Snyder, 1998)

US Migratory Bird Act: protected

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N1B,N4N : N1B: Critically Imperiled - Breeding, N4N: Apparently Secure - Nonbreeding

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5B,N5N : N5B: Secure - Breeding, N5N: Secure - Nonbreeding

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

No official conservation status.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Gulf of Maine - CoML

Source: Gulf of Maine Area Census of Marine Life

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population Trend
Increasing
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Short Term Trend: Increase of 10 to >25%

Comments: Breeding populations in New England declined after the 1940s due mostly to increases in populations of herring and great black-backed gulls. Breeding population in Jamaica Bay (New York) increased greatly from 1979 to at least the mid-1980s; recent increases also have been recorded in New Jersey and the southeastern U.S. (Clapp and Buckley 1984). See Buckley and Buckley (1984) for information on populations in the eastern U.S. Breeding Bird Survey data indicate a significant increase in North America, 1966-1988 (Sauer and Droege 1992). In 1990, total U.S. breeding populaton was about 259,000, a small increase compared to the late 1970s; population increased substantially in the region extending from Maine to Virginia, probably due to increased food availability at landfills; gull control at JFK airport in New York apparently has had minimal effect on regional or national populations (Belant and Dolbeer 1993, which see for information for particular states). May be increasing as a breeder in northern Caribbean (van Halewyn and Norton 1984).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Comments: Pesticide use is a potential threat. For example, hundreds died near a cotton field treated with parathion (see Franson 1994).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Management Requirements: See Griffin and Hoopes (1992) for gull management recommendations for JFK International Airport in New York. Tens of thousands were killed at JFK in a gull management program in the early 1990s (Belant and Dolbeer 1993).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Laughing Gulls are often found near and around airports. Sometimes this can be dangerous not only to the bird, but to the planes trying to land and take off. At the JFK airport in New York, the Laughing Gull and other birds get sucked into the planes' engines, causing significant damage to the plane. Many methods have been tried in order to convince the gulls not to enter the airspace; noise cannons, intimidating pictures of predatory owls, and recordings of "distressed gulls," have all been used. As a last resort, sharpshooters were brought in to keep the Laughing Gulls away. In the summer of 1996, the airport's wildlife biologist had expert trainers fly falcons and hawks at the gulls. The point of this was to chase away the gulls and not to kill them. (Mittlebach and Crewsdon 1997)

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Economic Uses

Comments: Constitutes an aviation hazard at certain airports (Griffin and Hoopes 1992).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Risks

Species Impact: High populations could be harmful to tern species due to gull predation on eggs and small chicks (van Halewyn and Norton 1984).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Laughing gull

 Breeding plumage
Mating plumage includes black head and red bill.

The laughing gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) is a medium-sized gull of North and South America. It breeds on the Atlantic coast of North America, the Caribbean, and northern South America. Northernmost populations migrate further south in winter, and this species occurs as a rare vagrant to western Europe. (There was an influx into North-west Europe in late October 2005 when at least 18, possibly as many as 35, individuals occurred on one day in the UK alone.) The laughing gull's English name is derived from its raucous kee-agh call, which sounds like a high-pitched laugh "ha... ha... ha...".

Chatham, Massachusetts, April 2002. By Tony Phillips.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

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 grey back and wings and black head. Its wings are much darker grey 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.

Laughing gulls take three years to reach adult plumage. Immature birds are always darker than most similar-sized gulls other than Franklin's. First-year birds are greyer below and have paler heads than first-year Franklin's, and second-years can be distinguished by the wing pattern and structure.

Laughing gulls breed in coastal marshes and ponds in large colonies. The large nest, made largely from grasses, is constructed on the ground. The 3 or 4 greenish eggs are incubated for about three weeks. These are omnivores like most gulls, and they will scavenge as well as seeking suitable small prey.

Like most other members of the genus Leucophaeus, the laughing gull was long placed in the genus Larus. The present placement in Leucophaeus follows the American Ornithologists' Union.[2][3]

Various views and plumages[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Larus atricilla". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Check-list of North American Birds". North American Classification Committee. American Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  3. ^ Remsen, J. V., Jr.; C. D. Cadena; A. Jaramillo; M. Nores; J. F. Pacheco; M. B. Robbins; T. S. Schulenberg; F. G. Stiles; D. F. Stot; K. J. Zimmer. "A classification of the bird species of South America". South American Classification Committee. American Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  • Harrison, Peter (1988). Seabirds : An Identification Guide. Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7470-1410-8. 
  • Field Guide to the Birds of North America (4 ed.). National Geographic Society. 2002. ISBN 0-7922-6877-6. 
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Formerly included in Larus but separated on the basis of genetic data (Pons et al., 2005) that indicate that the genus would be paraphyletic if the following species were included: L. modestus, L. atricilla and L. pipixcan (AOU, 2008).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!