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Laughing Gull

Larus atricilla


More interesting that your average's a seagull with a black head and dark grey wings! (thanks to @TampaDave and @ceherzog for help with the ID...Laughing Gull, not Black-headed Gull!)


Beach, shoreline


I started watching him as he walked up the high tide trash line. Seemed like he was pecking away at things, looking for something to eat. Then he took off into a stiff shore breeze. I was impressed with the length and elegance of his wings. And yes, perhaps this seagull was a she, not a he.

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QuigCrew 10 years ago

thanks for the help! this is why I love Project Noah!

TampaDave 10 years ago

I'm not sure, but I think both the male and female heads turn black. The Sibley guide doesn't differentiate between male/female breeding plumage. The pattern on the head doesn't look right for a Black-headed gull in breeding plumage. The black-headed gull in breeding plumage doesn't have the entire head covered in black. Your photo shows the head and upper neck are black. The more closely resembles the laughing gull in breeding plumage and the laughing gull appears to be more common to your area.

ceherzog 10 years ago

Are you sure that's not a Laughing Gull? Sibley's says the Black-headed has a dark brown hood...(weird) ...but it would also be very rare here according to the maps. The Laughing Gulls on Siesta Beach are now in breeding plumage with red bills and black heads.

QuigCrew 10 years ago

Do male and female have the same breeding plumage? Can you tell male or female from looking at these pics?

TampaDave 10 years ago

The heads turn black when they enter the breeding plumage.

Spotted by

Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Spotted on Apr 4, 2011
Submitted on Apr 5, 2011



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