Laughing Gull

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Project Description

Laughing Gull

Larus atricilla


Range/Geographical Distribution: Nova Scotia to the Caribbean.

Habitat: Coastal or inland species, rarely venturing far out to sea or into surrounding deciduous forests. 

Similar Species: Laughing gull, herring gull, royal tern, and Forester’s tern.

Description: A medium gull with grey back and wings, black legs, and a white belly.  Breeding plumage includes a black hood and red bill. In winter the head is white. Immature birds are a mottled brown. 

Size:  Length: 15-18” Wingspan: 36-47” Weight: 203-271g

Food:  A carnivore and scavenger; eats insects, berries, fish, crabs, garbage, and shellfish. Often steals food from other birds.

Breeding:  Lays three olive-browns eggs in a nest located on the ground either in the salt marsh or on the sand.  Lines the nest with grasses and nests in large colonies.

Predators:  Sharks and large birds of prey.

Conservation Status: Laughing gulls are listed as least concern by IUCN.  Depleted fish stocks, litter, and loss of habitat are threats to these birds.

Interesting Facts: During the late nineteenth century, laughing gulls were nearly eliminated in the northeast United States from plume and egg hunters. Males and females usually build their nest together but if a male doesn’t have a mate, he will start building a nest alone to attract a mate.

On the Coast: The laughing gull is the most common gull found along the coast of Georgia during the summer months.

Project Details


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