The Bonaparte’s Gull is a small, tern-like gull with reddish legs, white underparts, a black head, a thin, pointed, black bill, and narrow wings with black-tipped, white primaries.
Seasonal change in appearance
Winter adults have a mostly white head with a black "ear" spot, and pinkish legs.
JuvenileImmatures resemble winter adults but have browner upperparts.
HabitatBonaparte’s Gulls inhabit lakes, bogs, rivers, and lagoons.
DietBonaparte’s Gulls primarily eat insects, fish, and crustaceans.
BehaviorBonaparte’s Gulls forage by plunging into the water from the air, by picking up surface food from the ground or while swimming, or by catching insects in mid-air.
RangeBonaparte’s Gulls breed from Alaska south to southern Canada, and winter in the Great Lakes, Pacific and Atlantic Coasts, and south-central U.S., as well as points south. The population is probably stable.
Bent Life History
Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Bonaparte's Gull.
The Bonaparte's Gull is the smallest widely distributed gull in North America.
Unlike many other gulls, Bonaparte's Gulls generally do not forage in landfills, though they do visit sewage ponds for the abundant insects.
VocalizationsThe typical call is a rough "grrr."
The Bonaparte's Gull's nest is a platform of sticks lined with moss and grass and placed in a coniferous tree.
EggsNumber: Usually 3.
Color: Olive or buffy with darker markings.
Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 24 days, but their development is not well known.