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Merlin Bird ID

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    Laughing Gull

    Silhouette GullsGulls

    Laughing Gull

    Leucophaeus atricilla
    • ORDER: Charadriiformes
    • FAMILY: Laridae
    Basic Description

    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.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Laughing GullRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    Look for Laughing Gulls at the beach, especially during summer when their crisp black hoods and red bills make them easy to pick out from other gull species. You may also notice that their back and wings (the mantle) are considerably darker than common medium-sized gulls such as Ring-billed Gulls; this can also help you to pick them out from a crowd.

    Other Names
    • Gaviota Reidora (Spanish)
    • Mouette atricille (French)
    • Cool Facts