Population status

Laughing Gull
(Leucophaeus atricilla)

Non-breeding Laughing Gulls are sighted annually in Atlantic Canada and the Great Lakes. The species once bred regularly on islands off the coast of Nova Scotia (e.g., Snyder 1940), but breeding has not been recorded there since 1941. It has bred at Machias Seal Island, New Brunswick, several times since the 1940s (Erskine 1992). A single pair was confirmed breeding there during the second Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas (2010-2014; Chardine 2015). Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data are insufficient to calculate a population trend specific to Canada. BBS results from throughout North America suggest that the abundance of Laughing Gulls has increased substantially at the continental level since about 1970, but the species remains an irregular breeder in Canada. This suggests a relatively unchanged Canadian population, but with medium reliability. The Laughing Gull is currently at an acceptable level relative to its national population goal (see graph below).


Population goal and acceptable levels of variation

Species/groupGoalLower levelUpper level
Laughing GullMean abundance (2008-2012)Mean long-term abundance (1970-2012) minus 25%Not applicable

Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) - Canadian analysis

Additional information on: Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) - Canadian analysis

Table 1: Population trends by geographic area
Geographic areaTime Period Table 1 - footnote 1 Annual trend Table 1 - footnote 2 Limits
North America Select to view graph of the geographic area: North America 1970-2016; Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) - Canadian analysis1970-20161.60.23.2