Bonaparte’s Gull

No, not named after Napoleon, these gulls were named after a French zoologist of the same surname, Charles Lucien Bonaparte. The smallest gulls in North America, Bonaparte’s Gulls (Chroicocephalus philidelphia) are migratory visitors here on the BC coast and are only briefly seen with their black heads – their summer or mating plumage. During the fall, as they head south, their heads turn white except for a black dot behind the eye, a colouration they retain until nearing their northern mating grounds again in the spring. These gulls are unlike their larger cousins not only in that they are rarely seen at rubbish dumps, but also because they prefer to nest in trees – the only gull to do so.

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