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Laughing Gull

Leucophaeus atricilla ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: LARIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

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.

Calls

This is a very vocal species whose common call is a loud, descending series of laughing notes lasting 3 seconds or more. They also make a short stuttered alarm call when people, predators, or other gulls approach too closely. This can accelerate and intensify into a loud call lasting several minutes if the birds are defending a nest.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

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.

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