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Laughing Gulls

Larus atricilla


Laughing Gulls are medium-sized gulls with fairly long wings and long legs that impart a graceful look when they are flying or walking. They have stout, fairly long bills. Laughing Gulls are medium gray above and white below. Summer adults have a crisp black hood, white arcs around the eye, and a reddish bill. In winter, the hood becomes a blurry gray mask on a white head. The legs are reddish black to black. Immatures are much browner and more subtly patterned than adults; they take 2-3 years to gain adult plumage.


They were at the edge of the water on a stretch of beach that is open cars who wish to drive on the wet sand to park closer to Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary.


Approximately 140,000 shorebirds, representing 37 species use Bolivar Flats for both feeding and roosting. The area also serves as a year- round roost for gulls and terns; a feeding area for herons and egrets, a wintering site for the American White Pelican, and a wintering site for several species of waterfowl. The federally endangered species brown pelican and peregrine falcon are other important species using the flats for roosting and feeding. The adjacent salt marsh hosts clapper rails, seaside sparrow, and sharp-tailed sparrow. Black Skimmers and Least terns attempt to nest on the flats every year, but usually are not successful because of vehicular traffic. The huge bird population is largely supported by Bolivar Flats' rich, benthic infauna. Polychaet worms are the most abundant benthic animals. Shorebird use is highest in the winter and in early spring. Dunlin, Western Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitcher, and American Avocet are the most abundant winter shorebirds. Willets and Wilson's Plovers nest at the site. Willets, Black-bellied Plovers, and Sanderlings occur all year. The area is also one of the most important wintering sites for the threatened Piping Plover.

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Spotted by

Texas, USA

Spotted on Sep 25, 2012
Submitted on Sep 30, 2012

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