U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 124(3):525–530, 2012.


The Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) was extirpated as a breeding bird from New York State by 1900. Recolonization of coastal New York by this colonial waterbird occurred in 1979 with discovery of 15 breeding pairs in Jamaica Bay (Queens County) New York, New York. We conducted a survey of Long Island salt marsh habitats in 2008 to document if other breeding colonies of Laughing Gulls existed. We identified 66 individual possible breeding areas and field surveys were conducted in each area during June 2008. Many areas appeared to provide suitable nesting habitat (i.e., large areas of salt marsh dominated by Spartina), but no evidence of Laughing Gull nesting was found. A better understanding of Laughing Gull populations within the northeast coastal region and the effects of ongoing gull control near New York airports is needed for their conservation.