Bonaparte's Gull

Chroicocephalus philadelphia

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4

BOGU

Code 6

LARPHI

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Bonaparte's Gull has a large estimated breeding range of 3,820,000 square kilometers. It breeds on ponds or other wetlands in boreal forest in Alaska and a large part of Canada, and winters on large lakes and rivers and coastal waters in parts of southern Canada, the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The global population of this bird species is estimated to range between 260,000 and 530,000 individuals. While the population trends have not been quantified, the bird is not thought to be nearing thresholds for population decline that would cause its inclusion on the IUCN Red List. Because of this, Bonaparte's Gull has a conservation rating of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Bonaparte's Gull: This is a medium-sized gull with a black head and bill, gray back and wings and white underparts and tail. White outer primaries with black trailing edges are visible in flight. The legs are red-orange. It catches fish by wading and diving. It has a light and direct flight with rapid wing beats. It feeds mainly on insects, which it catches in mid-flight. The sexes are similar.

 

Range and Habitat

Bonaparte's Gull: Breeds across subarctic North America from western Alaska to the Hudson Bay. Spends winters along Atlantic coast from Virginia, along the Gulf Coast inland to southern Missouri, and south into northern Mexico, and along the Pacific coast from Washington south to central Mexico. Preferred habitats include large lakes, rivers, and marshlands.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"Cheer"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Bonaparte's gulls are named after a nephew of Napoleon, Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who was a leading ornithologist in the 1800's in America and Europe.
  • The smallest gull seen over most of North America, it is also the only gull that regularly nests in trees.
  • A group of gulls has many collective nouns, including a "flotilla", "gullery", "screech", "scavenging", and "squabble" of gulls.
  • The scientific name Philadelphia was given in 1815 by the describer of the species, George Ord of Philadelphia, presumably because he collected his specimen there.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

RANGE MAP HAWAII

About this Hawaii Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Hawaiian island.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Irina Rud-Volga

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Outer primariesX
The outer primaries are the primary feathers on the wing farthest from the body. They often appear to be the longest feathers on the wing.
PrimariesX
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X