CREDITS: I would like to thank Jeremy D'Entremont for providing much of the history one can find on this site. He is a speaker, author, historian, and tour guide who is widely recognized as the foremost authority on the lighthouses of New England. For a story on Jeremy or to visit his site (New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide), use the corresponding link in the right hand information bar under "Related Links".

Search for Lighthouses


I have set up this site as a means to share my photographs of lighthouses. Since retiring and finding more time to study photography, my interests have expanded a little. For some of my work other than lighthouses please enjoy my Facebook page at, John Shaw Photography. Come visit, enjoy, and 'LIKE' if you wish.

Also, for your enjoyment, I have provided a slideshow of our journey. To view it please use the link on the right under 'Site Navigation Tools'.

I sincerely hope you enjoy my efforts and use my site not only for information and education but also to provide directions for many enjoyable, inspirational visits to the beacons along our beautiful coas.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Laughing Gull

The Laughing Gull

     The Laughing Gull is a medium-sized gull of North and South America. It breeds on the Atlantic coast of North America, the Caribbean, and northern South America. Northernmost populations migrate further south in winter.  It's name is derived from its raucous kee-agh call, which sounds like a high-pitched laugh "ha... ha... ha...".

     The Laughing Gull is easy to identify. It is 14–16 in long with a 39–43 in wingspan. 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 and they have black tips.  The beak is long and red. The black hood is mostly lost in winter.

The Laughing Gull
     Laughing Gulls take three years to reach adult plumage. Immature birds are always darker than most similar-sized gulls.  First-year birds are greyer below and have paler heads and second-years can be distinguished by the wing pattern and structure.

     Laughing Gulls breed in coastal marshes and ponds in large colonies. The large nest, made largely from grasses, is constructed on the ground. The 3 or 4 greenish eggs are incubated for about three weeks.

    The Laughing Gull is normally diurnal, being active during the day. During the breeding season it forages at night as well. It usually looks for food along the beach at night, but will also hover to catch insects around lights. These are omnivores like most gulls, and they will scavenge as well as seeking suitable small prey such as fish, squid, shrimp, and berries.

     Nest colonies in northeastern United States were nearly eliminated by egg and plume hunters in the late 19th century. Populations have increased over the last century, following protection.

The Laughing Gull

     The male and female Laughing Gull usually build their nest together. If a male cannot find a mate, he may start building a nest platform and then use it to attract a female.
The adult Laughing Gull removes the eggshells from the nest after the eggs hatch. If the shells are not removed, a piece can become lodged on top of the slightly smaller unhatched third egg and prevent it from hatching.

The Laughing Gull

     A similar species, Franklin's Gull, is daintier; bill straight.  Adult has pattern of white-black-white on wingtips. In summer it sports a black hood and pink-flushed white underparts. Compared to the Laughing Gull, the winter adult retains more extensive dark markings on head; first-winter has narrower dark tail band.

No comments:

Post a Comment