Franklin's Gull

Leucophaeus pipixcan




Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Buff, olive or brown with brown or black marks.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

18 - 25

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Floating and anchored to vegetation.

Nest Material:

Lined with fine grasses, moss, and plant down.





Franklin's Gull: Medium-sized gull with gray back and white underparts. Head is black with white eye-ring; bill is orange with black spot near tip. Wings are relatively short with white-bordered or spotted black tips. Legs are red-orange. Sexes are similar. Winter adult has white head with streaked dark gray cap and dark bill; white underparts may be tinted pink. Legs and feet are dark red. Juvenile resembles winter adult but has brown wash on upperparts and nape, which gradually fades by first winter.

Range and Habitat

Franklin's Gull: This species breeds on marshes, sloughs, and wetlands around lakes from northern Alberta east to Manitoba and south from northern Utah to Minnesota. It also breeds in scattered marshes in the western states. They migrate to the southeast and winter mainly along west coast of South America.

Breeding and Nesting

Franklin's Gull: These gulls may nest in association with other colonial nesting species including: White-faced Ibis, Black-crowned Night-heron, and Eared Grebe. Three buff, olive or brown eggs with brown and black markings are laid on a floating platform built above the water and lined with fine grass and plant down. Incubation ranges from 18 to 25 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Franklin's Gull: These gulls are opportunistic feeders. They feed on earthworms, grubs, seeds and other vegetable matter, mice, fish, fish offal, crabs, snails and other invertebrates, and insects, particularly midges and grasshoppers. They often forage in dense flocks in agricultural fields, meadows and wet pastures.


Franklin's Gull: Emits a harsh "cuk-cuk-cuk", with occasional interjected screaming of "keeah-ah keeah-ah."

Similar Species

Franklin's Gull: Laughing Gull has darker legs and feet, darker undersides to primaries, and solid black wing tips.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The area on top of the head of the bird.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X