Laughing gulls are found on coasts in Florida and all over Central America, primarily on the Atlantic side. They are diurnal, but will forage at night during the breeding season when extra food is required for young. They walk or glide up and down the beach, looking for crabs, fish, carrion, human leftovers, and anything else they can find.
They are, of course, named for a distinctive “laughing” call, which can be heard here. Breeding adults have a black head, white “eyeshadow”, and dark gray body and wing feathers with a deep red beak. Outside the breeding season, the adults have white or gray heads and lighter beaks. Immature individuals are spotted gray/brown and white; young gulls can take up to three years to obtain adult plumage.
These surprisingly handsome gulls closely resemble Franklin’s gull, but the two do not share distribution; this is definitely a laughing gull because I found it in Florida. 🙂 (In fact, it’s likely Leucophaeus atricilla megalopterus because of the location, but don’t quote me on that.)