Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Dinsmore & Silcock, "Laughing Gulls in Western Nebraska," from Nebraska Bird Review (June 1995) 63(2).


Copyright 1995, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission


In this article, we describe two recent sightings of Laughing Gulls in western Nebraska in 1992 and 1994. The only previous acceptable record for Nebraska is a bird collected on 2 April, 1915 at Inland, Clay Co. (Bray et al. 1986). The birds described here are the second and third accepted records of this species in Nebraska.

On 30 June, 1992, Stephen J. Dinsmore and James J. Dinsmore observed a second-summer Laughing Gull at gate 9 on Lake McConaughy, Keith Co. The bird was resting on a sandy spit with about 100 other gulls, mostly Ring-billed. They observed the bird from 2:11-2:40 PM CST. Compared to several nearby Franklin's Gulls, it was 25% larger with a distinctly longer-winged appearance. The forehead and throat were white with a dull-gray area on the nape and rear portion of the crown, forming an indistinct cap. The eye was dark with no visible white eye crescents. The bill was dark with a pronounced gonys, and lacked the stubbier appearance of the bill of a Franklin's Gull. The mantle and upperwings were dark gray, slightly darker than those of a Franklin's Gull. In flight, there was no white separating the black outer primaries from the dark-gray primary coverts. A narrow, white trailing edge to the wing was also visible.