Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla)


Taxonomy

French: Mouette atricille German: Aztekenmöwe Spanish: Gaviota guanaguanare
Taxonomy:

Larus Atricilla

Linnaeus

, 1758,

Bahamas

.

Some authors place this species and other “hooded gulls” in genus Leucophaeus (see L. modestus, above). Considered a “structural ancestor” of all other hooded gulls. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. a. megalopterus Bruch, 1855 – breeds locally from SE California S to W Mexico (Jalisco), and from Maine to Florida and Texas, sparsely through E Central America; winters S to S Peru.
  • L. a. atricilla Linnaeus, 1758 – West Indies to Leeward Antilles and Trinidad and islands off Venezuela; also French Guiana (Connétable Is); winters S to N Brazil.
  • Descriptive notes

    39–46 cm; 203–400 g; wingspan 102–107 cm. A medium-sized, slender and elegant gull with a relatively small head and a long, heavy slightly drooping bill,... read more

    Voice

    Rather silent outside breeding season. A cackling, rather goose-like, laughing, nasal “ha ha ha”.... read more

    Habitat

    Strictly coastal. Breeds on vegetated sandy beaches or islands and saltmarshes (Long I to Virginia... read more

    Food and feeding

    Aquatic invertebrates and insects (beetles, grasshoppers, ants); also fish, particularly in winter, scraps and refuse. Kleptoparasitic on... read more

    Breeding

    Lays mid to late May in the north, in late April in Florida. Colonies of dozens to 10,000 pairs; high turnover rate. In West Indies... read more

    Movements

    Post-breeding dispersal is N, followed by movement S. Those breeding in Florida and West Indies... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Global population estimated at 792,000–807,000 individuals (race megalopterus) and 37,700–80,400... read more

    Recommended citation

    Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Garcia, E.F.J. & Kirwan, G.M. (2017). Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/54003 on 22 July 2017).