09 May, 2011

Bonaparte's Gull

Scientific Name: Chroicocephalus philadelphia

Population Estimate: 260-530K, Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Breeding habitat near bogs or lakes in coniferous forest across western Canada and Alaska. Winters in the Great Lakes, southern Mississippi River Valley, northern Mexico, Caribbean.

Field Notes: Slight, graceful hooded gulls. In breeding plumage (top photo), bill is all black and slender, legs orange / red. Little Gull has more extensive dark hood, no white eye crescents, short / pale wing tips. Black-headed Gull has orange base of bill. Franklin's Gull and Laughing Gull are larger with dark legs.

Personal Notes: Seen on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island. The first good spot after our birding guide ditched us. The day was turning around…. Later seen in non-breeding plumage (bottom photo) on the Salton Sea in California. 

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