Gull (Laughing gull) Leucophaeus atricilla
Species: L. atricilla
Binomial name: Leucophaeus atricilla
Synonyms: Larus atricilla
Common name Laughing gull
Leucophaeus atricilla is normally a bird of the Americas, but it is vagrant bird, meaning it could appear well outside its normal range.
The first New Zealand sighting was on the Opotiki Wharf near Te Ahiaua Reserve, near the Waiotahe River pipi beds on December 23 2016.
Leucophaeus atricilla is similar size as a the Red-billed gull (Larus novaehollandiae scopulinus) with a body length of about 40 cm and a weight of about 400 gm. It has a distinctive black head with a white neck collar, white breast and white belly. There might be a be grey shading on the body sides. The back and tail feathers are black with a few white feathers in a narrow band on the back near the rear.
The legs are long and black. The bill is black with a dark red tinge to it. The upper surfaces of the wings are grey with white trailing edges. The wing tip feathers are black. The forward section and part of the rear section of the eye ring is black and the top, bottom sections are white.
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