The smallest gull, this species is a rare breeder in North America. In all plumages, note the small, slender black bill, short legs, and slightly rounded wings. Alternate Adult: Note the extensive black hood with no eye crescents. Upperparts are pale gray, underparts white. In flight, the entire upper surface of the wing is pale gray, with a broad white trailing edge. The underside of the wing is very dark gray. The legs are red. Basic Adult: The head is white, with a black cap and black auricular patch. Juvenile: Brownish-black cap, auricular patch, hind neck, wing coverts, tertials and primaries. In flight, shows a bold M pattern on upper surface of wings. Underside of wings pale gray. Tail has a black terminal band. First Cycle Basic: Back and scapulars pale gray. Retains dusky head markings and carpal bar. In flight, shows strong M pattern seen on juvenile. First Cycle Alternate: Head pattern varies from smoky gray crown and nape to nearly complete black hood. Second Cycle Basic: Similar to basic adult, but retains some black on the primaries. Underside of wings medium gray. Second Cycle Alternate: Shows complete black hood. Black on primaries distinguishes this plumage from adult.
Length: 28 (cm) Wingspan: 69 (cm)
Nests in freshwater marshes. Winters along coast, large rivers and lakes, and offshore.
Often associates with other small gulls (particularly Bonaparte's) and terns.
Takes insects, small fish, and aquatic invertebrates.
Expanded Life History
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|02/27/11||Shawneen Finnegan, OR||#|
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