Bonaparte's gulls are named after a nephew of Napoleon, Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who was a leading ornithologist in the 1800's in America and Europe.
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
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
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
There are no adverse affects of Bonaparte's gulls on humans.
Bonaparte's gulls are beneficial to agriculture, destroying insect pests, grubs, and worms in the fields.
Positive Impacts: controls pest population
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).
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 )
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
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
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: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; oviparous