New York Natural Heritage Program
Laughing Gull
Leucophaeus atricilla Linnaeus, 1758
Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) Larry Master
Family: Terns, Gulls and Relatives (Laridae)

State Protection: Protected Bird
Defined as a Protected Bird by New York State law. This species may not be hunted or taken at any time in New York.

Federal Protection: Migratory Bird Treaty Act
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act implements various treaties and conventions between the U. S. and Canada, Japan, Mexico and the former Soviet Union for the protection of migratory birds. Under this Act, taking, killing, or possessing migratory birds, including nests or eggs, is unlawful unless specifically permitted by other regulations.

State Rarity Rank: S1
A State Rarity Rank of S1 means: Typically 5 or fewer occurrences, very few remaining individuals, acres, or miles of stream, or some factor of its biology makes it especially vulnerable in New York State.

Global Rarity Rank: G5
A Global Rarity Rank of G5 means: Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Did you know?
Unlike other gull species, Laughing Gulls rarely steal eggs and chicks of other birds (Burger 1996).

State Ranking Justification [-]
New York is near the northern limit of the Laughing Gull's breeding range, with breeding populations being restricted to beaches, dredge spoil islands, sandy non-barrier islands, and recently, salt marsh islands along the coast of southern Long Island (New York Natural Heritage Program 2009). Much of the former breeding habitat has been lost due to development and recreational activities along Long Island's beaches, resulting in the Laughing Gull and other beach-nesting species to nest on salt marsh islands (Burger 1996; McGowen and Corwin 2008).

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]