Laughing Gull

Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla) Birds of Tobago
Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla)
Laughing Gull

Order : Charadriiformes
This is a diverse order which includes about 350 species of birds in all parts of the world. Most Chardriiformes are strong flyers, some species performing the most extensive migration of any birds. Most live near water and eat invertebrates or other similar small animals and most nest on the ground. the order is split into 3 main suborders; Charadrii (about 200 species including Sandpipers, Plovers and Lapwings ), Lari ( about 92 species including Gulls, Turns, Skimmers and Jaegers), and Alcidae ( about 21 species including Auks, Guillemots and Puffins)

Family : Gulls and Turns (Laridae)
The Laridae family compromises two distinct subfamilies Lari (Gulls) and Sterninae (Turns). Gulls account for over 40 species, and are heavily built web footed scavengers that take insects, molluscs, crustaceans, fish and garbage from beaches and shorelines, worms and grubs from fields, and some will even take eggs and chicks of other birds including their own. Turns account for about 40 species of slender water birds that often form large breeding colonies nesting on the ground on remote Islands sometimes numbering millions of individuals. Many Terns are long distance migrants covering thousands of kilometers in just a few days.

Name : Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla)
Length : 40 - 45 cm (16 - 18 in )
Local Names : Sea Gull, Laughing Bird

The Laughing Gull is a medium sized Gull of North and South America, and is the only Gull nesting in the Caribbean. The Northernmost populations migrate further south in winter, and has occurred as a very rare vagrant in Western Europe. It has a black head during breeding season which turns mottled grey during winter, otherwise it’s white with grey upperparts and wings and a red bill. The Laughing Gulls name is derived from it’s raucous call. Laughing Gulls breed in coastal marshes or similar habitat, the nest, made largely from grasses, is constructed on the ground. 3 - 4 greenish eggs are laid and incubation takes about 3 weeks. Laughing Gulls are omnivorous, and will feed from fish taken from the sea surface, or scavenge along the shore for offal.

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Bird identification photos
Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla) Sea Gull