Bonaparte’s Gull – Chroicocephalus philadelphia

Bonaparte’s Gull – Chroicocephalus philadelphia in breeding plumage

I have visualized Bonaparte’s gulls in my local area usually late fall and into the spring. On rare occasions, I have seen them in the summer locally, once in June and recently here in August. On a visit to Churchill Manitoba, I observed the Bonaparte’s gull in breeding plumage and also sitting on a nest in a conifer.

Bonaparte’s Gull – Chroicocephalus philadelphia sitting on its nest in a conifer

Bonaparte’s gull named for a French ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. He contributed during an eight-year stay to a better understanding of the taxonomy and nomenclature of birds both here in the Americas and elsewhere.

Bonaparte’s gull is a small gull with only the little gull, and Saunder’s gull are smaller. When it is in breeding plumage, it has a slaty black hood which it loses when in the non-breeding state. In the winter has a black spot behind its eyes and dark smudges on the head.

Bonaparte’s Gull – Chroicocephalus philadelphia standing on a rock

Its breeding range is the boreal forest from across southern Alaska and interior Western Canada as far east as central Qu├ębec

Unlike other gulls, it does not frequent garbage dumps. Its regular diet is insects, and in the winter the diet also will include fish, small crustaceans, mollusks, marine worms and other invertebrates.

Most of the time that I have seen Bonaparte gulls it has usually been a single gull are a couple of gulls. Once on the Westport River, I did photograph a large flock of Bonaparte gulls.

Flock of Bonaparte’s Gull s- Chroicocephalus philadelphia flying over the Westport River

Presently, the Bonaparte’s gull that I recently observed located along with other gull species on the shore of Plymouth beach, just past the entrance and you need to look down over the seawall. Most the time, the Bonaparte go was walking by itself and looking for food on the shore or in puddles.

Bonaparte’s Gull – Chroicocephalus philadelphia searching for food
Bonaparte’s Gull – Chroicocephalus philadelphia searching for food
Bonaparte’s Gull – Chroicocephalus philadelphia walking along the shore