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Bonaparte's Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)
Birds Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)

General Description: Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia) are small gulls that are light gray above and white below. During breeding, the head is black, but during winter (when we see them), the head is white with a black spot behind the eyes. In flight, the gray wing has a large, triangular white patch on the leading edge of the wing and a black margin on the trailing edge.

Gulls take 2-4 years to mature. The plumage during the juvenile and subadult years differs from the adult breeding plumage, and the plumage also differs between summer and winter. Thus, there can be 7 or so different plumages for each species of gull, making identification difficult. Bonaparte's Gulls take two years to mature.

Taxonomy: Charadriiformes, Laridae, Larinae. Formerly Larus philadelphia.

Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)

Favored Habitat: Bonaparte's Gulls breed in the boreal forest (taiga) of northern Canada and Alaska. They winter in coastal areas, the lower and central Mississippi River Valley, and points southward into Mexico.

Where to Find: Bonaparte's Gulls are uncommon in the Las Vegas area during migration. Check for them during migration while birding at Lake Mead, the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, and on similar bodies of water.

Comments: Bonaparte's Gulls are the only gull that regularly nests in trees

Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia) Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)
Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia) Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)
Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia) Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)
Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)
Notice small size compared to Ring-billed Gulls, which are small gulls
Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)
Notice the small size
Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)
Size comparison: Bonapart's Gull and California Gull
Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)
Juvenile: note black trailing wing edge and black terminal tail band
Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 130917

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