Laughing Gulls, Ospreys, Great Kiskadees, Great Blue Herons
The Laughing Gull is a medium-sized gull of North and South America. It
breeds on the Atlantic coast of North America, the Caribbean, southern California,
USA, and northern South America. Northernmost populations migrate further
south in winter, and this species occurs as a rare vagrant to Western Europe.
Laughing Gulls are a common sight along the Belize coast and this shorebird
is named for its distinctive voice, which sounds like it is laughing, “ha-haha-
ha-haah.” Colors of gulls change with age. The adult Laughing Gull has a
black head and neck with a white belly, the sub-adult has a white head and belly
and the juvenile has a brownish head and neck. Laughing Gulls breed in coastal
marshes and ponds. The large nest, made largely from grasses, is constructed
on the ground. The three or four greenish eggs are incubated for about three
weeks. These gulls are omnivores and will scavenge as well as seeking suitable
The Great Blue Heron stands three to four feet tall and has a wingspan of almost six feet. It has blue-gray feathers on most of its body and a plume of feathers on its chest and back. It has a long, pointed yellow bill and long legs. Adults have white on the top of their heads and long black plumes above their eyes. The largest and most widespread heron in North America, the Great Blue Heron can be found along the ocean shore or the edge of a small inland pond. An all white form is found from southern Florida into the Caribbean, and used to be considered a separate species, the “Great White Heron.” An adaptable bird whose large size enables it to feed on a variety of prey-from large fish and frogs to mice, small birds, and insects-the Great Blue has one of the widest ranges of any North American heron. This wide choice of food enables it to remain farther north during the winter than other species, wherever there is open water, although such lingering birds may fall victim to severe weather. Most Great Blues nest in colonies in tall trees; their presence is often unsuspected until the leaves fall and the groups of saucer-shaped nests are exposed to view. In late summer young herons disperse widely and may be encountered at small ponds, in mountain waters, or even in backyard pools-wherever fish are plentiful.
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