Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)

Bonapartes Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull, photo by James Salinas

All About Birds has this to say about Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia):

A small, graceful gull with bright white patches in its wings, the Bonaparte’s Gull winters near people, but breeds in the isolated taiga and boreal forest.

  • The Bonaparte’s Gull is the only gull that regularly nests in trees.
  • The English name of the Bonaparte’s Gull honors Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who made important contributions to American ornithology while an active member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia during the 1820s. The scientific name philadelphia was given in 1815 by the describer of the species, George Ord of Philadelphia, presumably because he collected his specimen there.
  • During the breeding season, the Bonaparte’s Gull feeds mainly on insects, often catching them on the wing.
  • Breeds around lakes and marshes in boreal forest. Winters along lakes, rivers, marshes, bays, and beaches along coasts.
  • Eats small fish and large invertebrates, including insects. Does not eat garbage or carrion.

Read on for more and some photos and the gull’s distinctive call.

James took this photo in Port Huron. View it bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Lots more Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures!


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