Jekyll Island – Laughing Gulls Go A-courtin’

May 2, 2014 at 8:01 am (Bird photography, Birds - Georgia, Georgia, Georgia State Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) (, , , , , , )

Laughing Gulls Courting, Jekyll Island, Georgia

Laughing Gulls Courting, Jekyll Island, Georgia

Normally I am not too interested in the doings of gulls, but the rather handsome Laughing Gulls were engaged in an intriguing courtship and I couldn’t help but photograph it.


I watched the smaller gull (I really didn’t know the sexes were different sizes) seem to flirt with or beg from the larger one.  Since females of many animal species are often larger, and since it’s usually the male trying to charm the reluctant female, I assumed the smaller one was the guy gull.


Several times I watched as this teasing eventually led to the larger gull doing something curious.



The larger gull would regurgitate a whole fish!  The smaller gull would then eat it.

A regurgitated fish

A regurgitated fish

Sometimes there would be a tug of war.  Sometimes another gull, familiar with the ritual, would swoop in and steal the gift.


Now I know males often feed females during courtship and breeding.  Was this a coy female getting her boyfriend to cough up a gift?

Laughing Gulls mating

Laughing Gulls mating

Then I saw the larger gull would always be the one on top, in the dominant position of the male.  So I had to change my entire perspective of this courtship.  Male Laughing Gulls are bigger.  Females are the seducers.



Happily married!



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