There are four basic types of gulls commonly found in America's WETLAND. Only one (Herring Gull) lives here year around.
The Herring Gull is a very large bird , and we normally see them as both adults and juveniles. The adults have a gray back and wings (wings are black tipped); white belly, neck, and head; yellow bill with a red spot on the lower portion; yellow eye; and flesh colored legs. The juveniles are brown birds with various patterns depending on the age.
The Ring-billed Gull is somewhat smaller, has the same general appearance, but differs by having a dark ring around the bill and yellow legs. These gulls are in the New Orleans area during the winter only, though a few birds may hang out year round.
The Laughing Gull is smaller still, has thinner, darker gray wings, and a completely black head with a red bill. This is a summer bird in New Orleans, generally arriving as the Ring-billed Gulls are leaving. They are easily recognized by their laughing call - ha ha.
During the colder months, we occasionally see wintering Bonaparte’s Gulls. In winter plumage, these birds are easily recognizable by being a whitish bird with some dark on the wings, a dark stripe along the rear of the otherwise white tail, and a dark round spot behind the eye (head otherwise white). These are quite small, and usually are seen flying in small groups. They often feed by flying slowly over water and hovering to dip into the water to pick up small fish.