Overview

Brief Summary

Chroicocephalus philadelphia

Smaller than most gulls, Bonaparte’s Gull is most easily identified by its size (13 inches), thin black bill, and bright orange legs. In summer, this species has a black head, gray body, and light gray wings that, unlike those of the similarly-patterned Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla), have white leading edges and black tips. In winter, this species becomes white-headed except for a small black spot behind the eye. Male and female Bonaparte’s Gulls are similar to one another in all seasons. Bonaparte’s Gull breeds over a wide area of southern Alaska and Canada east to Quebec. However, despite its large breeding territory, this species nests only locally within its breeding range. In winter, Bonaparte’s Gulls migrate south to the southern Great Lakes and coastal areas of the U.S.south to central Mexico. In summer, Bonaparte’s Gulls breed along open edges of northern evergreen forests near water, being among the only gulls to nest in trees. In winter, this species may be found along large bodies of fresh or salt water, including on riverbanks, sandy beaches, and the open ocean. Bonaparte’s Gull eats small fish at all seasons, but this species also eats insects while further inland in summer. Due to the relative inaccessibility of this species’ breeding grounds, most birdwatchers only observe Bonaparte’s Gulls during winter, when they are relatively common along the coasts. At this time of year, this species is most easily observed plunging into the water to catch small fish. Bonaparte’s Gull is most active during the day.

Threat Status: Least concern

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Distribution

North America; Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Range Description

This species is found in North America, breeding from western Alaska (USA) to British Columbia, and east to eastern Quebec (Canada). It winters further south to northern Mexico on the Pacific and Atlantic coast including the Carribean. It can also be found wintering inland from Lake Erie to the valley of the Mississippi (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
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Geographic Range

Larus_philadelphia breeds in western Canada and Alaska from July to October. Bonaparte's gulls migrate south to spend the winter on the Pacific coast from Vancouver Island to points southward. Some migrate southward as far as Panama. They sometimes occur as vagrants in in a number of European countries as well as Japan, Israel, and Morroco.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); palearctic (Native ); ethiopian (Native ); neotropical (Native ); atlantic ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Native )

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Range

N North America; winters to Mexico and Greater Antilles.

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Geographic Range

Larus philadelphia breeds in western Canada and Alaska from July to October. Bonaparte's gulls migrate south to spend the winter on the Pacific coast from Vancouver Island to points southward. Some migrate southward as far as Panama. They sometimes occur as vagrants in in a number of European countries as well as Japan, Israel, and Morroco.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); palearctic (Native ); ethiopian (Native ); neotropical (Native ); atlantic ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Native )

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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: BREEDING: western and central Alaska, central Yukon, northwestern and central Mackenzie, and northern Manitoba south to base of Alaska Peninsula, south-coastal and (rarely) southeastern Alaska, southern British Columbia, southwestern Alberta, central Saskatchewan, southern Manitoba, and central Ontario. Nonbreeders occur in summer south along coast to California and New England, and in interior to Great Lakes. NON-BREEDING: from Washington south along coast to northwestern Mexico (southern Baja California, Sinaloa); Great Lakes; southeastern Canada south along coast to Florida, west to southern Texas and central Mexico; Bermuda, Bahamas, and Greater Antilles; occasional in Hawaii (AOU 1983, NGS 1983, Sibley and Monroe 1990).

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North American bird. Northern Canada to Alaska in summer. Moves to Atlantic and Pacific coast of United States in winter.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Bonaparte's gulls are slate-gray headed with a very small black bill and bright orange-red legs and feet. They have a white terminal band on tail feathers and secondaries. In young birds, the wing has a dark-bordered appearance, with flashy white wing tips. Adults reach 43 to 53 cm in body length. (Pough 1953)

Range mass: 200 to 250 g.

Range length: 43 to 53 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

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Physical Description

Bonaparte's gulls are slate-gray headed with a very small black bill and bright orange-red legs and feet. They have a white terminal band on tail feathers and secondaries. In young birds, the wing has a dark-bordered appearance, with flashy white wing tips. Adults reach 43 to 53 cm in body length. (Pough 1953)

Range mass: 200 to 250 g.

Range length: 43 to 53 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

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Size

Length: 34 cm

Weight: 212 grams

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Length: 33-36 cm, Wingspan: 81-84 cm
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Bonaparte's gull breeds on ponds or muskeg in coastal and inland areas, nesting mainly in low lying spruce and ramaracks close to or over water but up to 600 m in Alaska. It feeds on small fish, krill, amphipods and insects with the proportions varying geographically and seasonally. It feeds mainly by surface-seizing and diving. It mainly feeds in flocks exceeding 2000 birds over the incoming tide. It arrives at breeding grounds in early May, laying within the month. It is a non-colonial species though nests may be clumped (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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Bonaparte's gulls are found in ocean bays, coastal waters, islands, and lakes.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; saltwater or marine ; freshwater

Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds; coastal

Other Habitat Features: estuarine

  • Miklos, D. 1994. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, inc..
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Bonaparte's gulls are found in ocean bays, coastal waters, islands, and lakes.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; saltwater or marine ; freshwater

Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds; coastal

Other Habitat Features: estuarine

  • Miklos, D. 1994. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, inc..
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Depth range based on 7940 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 756 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): 0.165 - 25.637
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.212 - 6.702
  Salinity (PPS): 30.132 - 36.214
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.667 - 7.993
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.082 - 0.800
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.868 - 16.169

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): 0.165 - 25.637

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.212 - 6.702

Salinity (PPS): 30.132 - 36.214

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.667 - 7.993

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.082 - 0.800

Silicate (umol/l): 0.868 - 16.169
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Comments: NON-BREEDING: along seacoasts, bays and harbors, estuaries, mudflats, marshes, rivers, lakes, ponds, and flooded fields (AOU 1983). More pelagic than most gulls, often feeds offshore (Braune 1989). BREEDING: coniferous woodland near ponds and lakes. Often nests in trees in old bird's nest (AOU 1983).

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Ocean bays, lakes, muskegs.
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Migrates most commonly through eastern North America from Mississippi Valley east to Appalachians (AOU 1983). In fall, uses 3 flyways: the Pacific, Mississippi, and Atlantic, with the majority (60%) following the Mississippi Flyway from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, and the remainder of the population split between the two coasts (21% Atlantic, 19% Pacific) (Braune 1989). Main fall routes through Atlantic Flyway: Saguenay River-Upper Saint John River-St. Croix River-Quoddy region, southwestern Bay of Fundy; Lower Great Lakes-Mohawk River-Hudson River-Long Island, New York area; Lower Great Lakes-Delaware River-Delaware Bay/Chesapeake Bay (Braune 1989). By late July, flocks of breeding birds form on larger boreal lakes prior to fall migration (Johnson and Herter 1989). Fall migration tends to be more coastal than does spring migration.

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Moves farther south and to coastal areas in winter.
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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Small fish, crustacea, snails and marine worms are staple foods of Larus_philadelphia along the coast. However, inland in summer they feed chiefly on insects they capture in the air, pick from croplands, or gather from the surface of lakes or ponds. (Miklos 1994).

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Food Habits

Small fish, crustacea, snails and marine worms are staple foods of Larus philadelphia along the coast. However, inland in summer they feed chiefly on insects they capture in the air, pick from croplands, or gather from the surface of lakes or ponds. (Miklos 1994).

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Comments: Feeds primarily on insects and fishes in lakes and bays; also eats crustaceans and marine worms and scavenges (Bent 1921). July-December diet off New Brunswick: fishes, euphausiids, insects, polychaetes, amphipods; opportunistic feeder (Braune 1987). Young are fed insects gleaned from water surface or from water plants (Johnson and Herter 1989). Feeds on insects and marine invertebrates frequently in areas where prey concentrated by currents, waterfalls, glaciers, and other natural features (see Johnson and Herter 1989).

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Insects, crustaceans, fish, marine worms.
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General Ecology

Nonbreeding: often seen in loose flocks; often associates with terns when feeding or resting.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

The vocalizations of Bonaparte's gulls can be described as a harsh high pitched see-whee and a low pitched kuk-kuk-kuk. They produce many conversational whistled notes when feeding.

Communication Channels: visual ; acoustic

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Communication and Perception

The vocalizations of Bonaparte's gulls can be described as a harsh high pitched see-whee and a low pitched kuk-kuk-kuk. They produce many conversational whistled notes when feeding.

Communication Channels: visual ; acoustic

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Reproduction

Bonaparte's gulls nest in loose colonies throughout most of Canada, from Manitoba to west-central Ontario and north to Alaska. They are the only gull species that nests almost exclusively in nests built in trees, rather than on the ground. They lay two to four eggs in nests built from twigs and moss in spruce or tamarack trees near water. The eggs are grayish to greenish brown, marked with dark brown and lilac and 4.8 by 3.3 cm on average.

Breeding interval: Bonaparte's gulls breed once yearly.

Breeding season: Bonaparte's gulls breed from July to October each year.

Range eggs per season: 2 to 4.

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)

  • Peterson, R. 1980. A field guide to the birds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Bonaparte's gulls nest in loose colonies throughout most of Canada, from Manitoba to west-central Ontario and north to Alaska. They are the only gull species that nests almost exclusively in nests built in trees, rather than on the ground. They lay two to four eggs in nests built from twigs and moss in spruce or tamarack trees near water. The eggs are grayish to greenish brown, marked with dark brown and lilac and 4.8 by 3.3 cm on average.

Breeding interval: Bonaparte's gulls breed once yearly.

Breeding season: Bonaparte's gulls breed from July to October each year.

Range eggs per season: 2 to 4.

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)

  • Peterson, R. 1980. A field guide to the birds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Breeding begins mid-June (Harrison 1978). Incubates 2-3, usually 3, eggs for 24 days (Terres 1980). Nestlings are semi-precocial and downy. Usually nests solitarily or in small groups (Terres 1980).

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Nests in isolated pairs or small colonies near water. Nest is built either in coniferous trees or on ground. 3 eggs, incubated by both sexes for about 24 days. Young are fed by both parents.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Larus philadelphia

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 4 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGCATAGTAGGCACCGCCCTCAGCCTGCTTATTCGTGCAGAACTTGGCCAACCCGGAACCCTCCTAGGAGATGACCAAATCTATAACGTAATTGTCACCGCCCACGCCTTCGTGATAATCTTCTTCATAGTAATACCGATCATGATCGGCGGCTTCGGAAATTGACTAGTCCCACTTATAATCGGTGCCCCTGACATAGCATTTCCACGCATAAACAACATAAGCTTCTGACTACTACCCCCATCATTCCTACTCCTCCTAGCCTCTTCCACAGTAGAAGCCGGAGCCGGCACAGGGTGAACAGTATACCCCCCTCTAGCTGGCAATCTAGCCCATGCCGGAGCTTCGGTAGACCTAGCAATCTTCTCCCTTCACTTAGCAGGTGTATCATCCATTCTAGGTGCTATTAACTTTATCACTACAGCCATCAACATAAAACCCCCTGCCCTCTCACAATATCAAACCCCACTATTCGTATGATCCGTACTCATTACTGCCGTACTATTACTACTCTCACTTCCAGTGCTTGCTGCAGGCATTACTATACTACTTACAGACCGAAACCTAAACACAACATTCTTCGATCCTGCCGGAGGTGGTNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Larus philadelphia

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5B,N5N : N5B: Secure - Breeding, N5N: Secure - Nonbreeding

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5B,N5N : N5B: Secure - Breeding, N5N: Secure - Nonbreeding

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The global population of Bonaparte's gulls is estimated to be between 260,000 and 530,000. This number seems to be stable.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

US Migratory Bird Act: protected

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

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The global population of Bonaparte's gulls is estimated to be between 260,000 and 530,000. This number seems to be stable.

US Migratory Bird Act: protected

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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No official conservation status.
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Population

Population Trend
Increasing
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no adverse affects of Bonaparte's gulls on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Bonaparte's gulls are beneficial to agriculture, destroying insect pests, grubs, and worms in the fields.

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

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Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no adverse affects of Bonaparte's gulls on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Bonaparte's gulls are beneficial to agriculture, destroying insect pests, grubs, and worms in the fields.

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

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Wikipedia

Bonaparte's Gull

The Bonaparte's Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia) is a small gull.

Description[edit]

The Bonaparte's Gull is a small species, larger only than the Little Gull and the Saunders's Gull among all gull species.[2] Adults are 28–38 cm (11–15 in) long with a 76–84 cm (30–33 in) wingspan and a body mass of 162–270 g (5.7–9.5 oz).[3][4] They have a black hood and a short thin dark bill. The body is mainly white with pale grey back and upper wings. The underwing is pale and the wing tips are dark. They have pink legs. In winter, the head is white.

In their first summer, the appearance of Bonaparte's Gull is similar to that in its first winter, but paler due to wear. Fewer than 5% of Bonaparte's Gulls acquire a dark hood in their first summer, and on those that do, the hood is duller than on breeding adults.

Habits[edit]

Their breeding habitat is near bogs or lakes in coniferous forest across western Canada and Alaska. They nest in conifers, sometimes on the ground.

They are migratory and most move east or west to coastal waters, also the Great Lakes. They are rare vagrants to western Europe, where they usually associate with the somewhat larger Black-headed Gulls.

These birds forage in flight or pick up objects while swimming or wading. They mainly eat insects, crustaceans and fish. Unlike some other gulls, this bird rarely scavenges.

They are graceful in flight, more like terns.

Etymology[edit]

They were named after Prince Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a zoologist and nephew of Napoleon.

Formerly known as Larus philadelphia, the Bonaparte's Gull was moved to the genus Chroicocephalus by the American Ornithologists' Union in July, 2008.

Long Island, NY, April 2004. By Tony Phillips.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Larus philadelphia". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Harrison, Peter, Seabirds: An Identification Guide. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (1991), ISBN 978-0-395-60291-1
  3. ^ CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (1992), ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.
  4. ^ Bonaparte's Gull, All About Birds.
  • Seabirds (Helm Field Guides) 2nd edition, by Peter Harrison, 1991, Christopher Helm Publishers, ISBN 0-7136-3510-X
  • "National Geographic" Field Guide to the Birds of North America ISBN 0-7922-6877-6
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Formerly included in Larus but separated on the basis of genetic data (Pons et al., 2005) that indicate that the genus would be paraphyletic if the following species were included: C. philadelphia, C. cirrocephalus, and C. ridibundus (AOU, 2008).

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