Laughing Gull (species: Leucophaeus atricilla) in Monterey Bay, California (Gaia Guide)
Leucophaeus atricilla
Laughing Gull

©Peter Wallack: Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) in mating plumage

©Alan D. Wilson: Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Laridae
Genus Leucophaeus
Species Leucophaeus atricilla
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

The summer adult's body is white apart from the dark grey back and wings and black head. Its wings are much darker grey than all other gulls of similar size except the smaller Franklin's Gull, and they have black tips without the white crescent shown by Franklin's. The beak is long and red. The black hood is mostly lost in winter.

They take three years to reach adult plumage. Immature birds are always darker than most similar-sized gulls other than Franklin's. First-year birds are greyer below and have paler heads than first-year Franklin's, and second-years can be distinguished by the wing pattern and structure. (Wikipedia)


  • From 36 cm to 41 cm (Length of specimen)


  • From 98 cm to 110 cm


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

It breeds on the Atlantic coast of North America, the Caribbean, and northern South America. Northernmost populations migrate further south in winter, and this species occurs as a rare vagrant to western Europe. (Wikipedia)

Web resources


  • Simpson, K., N. Day and P. Trusler (2004). Field Guide to Birds of Australia: 7th Edition Penguin Group (Australia), Camberwell, Victoria.