Friday, August 04, 2006

Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)

If you said Bonaparte, I would say "Napoleon"; and I often do for the word association plays tricks with my mind and whenever I see these little Bonaparte's Gulls I often initally misname them by calling them Napoleon Gulls.

After returning home yesterday and downloading my pictures I consulted my copy of, The Sibley Guide to Birds (David Sibley, 2000) to confirm their identification.

At first glance there were three smaller sized gulls with black heads to consider. I immediately ruled out Black-headed Gulls as they have orange-red bills and all of the gulls in my photos had black bills. I also ruled out Little Gulls. The black hood on a Little Gull is more extensive than a Bonaparte's Gull and the Little Gull, as denoted by its name is little; smaller than a Bonaparte's. Also Little Gulls are not that common in my area; especially not in large groups like the one I had seen yesterday.

The narrow black edging of the Bonaparte's wings in flight confirmed it's id to me. In this
photo above the black edging on the wings is very evident.

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