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Bonaparte's Gull | by Rick Leche
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Bonaparte's Gull

Because they breed in the Far North, these beautiful gulls are most often seen on lakes and rivers during migration or along the coast in winter. They keep to themselves, seldom joining the larger gulls at dumps. They feed in tidal inlets and at sewage outlets, picking scraps of food from the water. During spring migration, they may often be seen flying northward along large rivers such as the Hudson and the Mississippi. The species is named after a nephew of Napoleon, Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who was a leading ornithologist in the 1800s in America and Europe.


description 12-14" (30-36 cm). A small delicate gull, silvery gray above, with conspicuous white, wedge-shaped patches on leading edge of outer wing. Head black in breeding adults, white in winter with dark spot behind eye. Bill black. Young birds have dark markings on upper surface of wing and black tail band. Common Black-headed Gull similar but larger, with red bill and dark wing linings.


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Taken on August 16, 2006