Sea Creatures in Your Neighborhood – the Laughing Gull

May 22nd, 2020

The Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) – please use this template for guidance.

“Memorial Day is the start of the beach season at the Jersey Shore, and no sound is more iconic to beachgoers than the call of the laughing gull (click on this link to hear one).  Like many vacationers, laughing gulls are regular visitors to NJ’s beaches, marshes, and back bays throughout the summer and fall.  These medium-sized birds are relatives to lesser black-backed and Bonaparte’s gulls, which they can be found in congregation with along coastal areas of NJ.  Adults have black heads, thin white eye crescents, and red bills which make them easy to identify.  If you notice a laughing gull extending and lowering its neck, calling, and then throwing its head backwards, it is displaying a threatening behavior and alerting other gulls to stay away. This is also an important reminder for all beachgoers to practice social distancing!”

Did you know…
– Laughing gulls are opportunistic feeders. They eat snails, insects, crabs, squid, garbage, and anything else they can get their beaks on – including the snacks  they steal from your beach bag!
– During the spring nesting season, male and female laughing gulls build their nest together where the female will lay 2-4 brown with black-speckled eggs.
– The oldest known laughing gull lived to be 22 years old!

Check out this cool video – and happy Memorial Day weekend!

For more information on NJSGC’s #SeaCreaturesInYourNeighborhood campaign, please click here.