Commonly known as Franklin's gulls,is a migratory species that travels seasonally between North and South America. Breeding distribution is limited to a small portion of central Canada and northern United States. During the breeding season this species can be seen in central Saskatchewan, eastern Alberta, southwestern Manitoba, central Oregon, northwestern Utah and Wyoming, southern Idaho, northwestern Iowa, North and South Dakota, and Minnesota. Vagrant sightings of have been recorded along the southern coast of Alaska during the spring and summer months. Western Kansas and northern California have also had record sightings of .
Throughout it's range,may be found in aquatic habitats including coastlines and inland bodies of freshwater. Prime nesting habitat for is within an inland freshwater lake or marsh, in an area between open water and dense vegetation. This species utilizes aquatic, floating nests which are constructed in cattails, bulrushes, on muskrat homes, or on floating debris. Optimal migration stopover habitat includes inland lakes, estuaries, bays, pastures, flooded fields, mudflats, lagoons, river mouths, and harbors. While wintering in South America, may be found on ocean beaches, bays or estuaries.
Larus atricilla) which feature extensive black on the primaries and very limited white on the primary wingtips.is a relatively small gull species that measures 32 to 36.1 cm in length, features a 85 to 95 cm wingspan, and weighs 221 to 335 g. is the only species of gull that goes through two complete molts in both spring and fall. In breeding plumage, features an entirely black head that extends across the throat and down to the nape. It's small bill turns bright red with a thin black ring around the tip. Each eye is surrounded by broad, white eye arcs. The neck, breast, tail and undersides are unmarked white, but the belly may be tinged with pink. Legs and feet are very dark red in color. The mantle, wing coverts, and scapulars are dark-gray, which contrast with the white band along the edge of the primaries and secondaries (medial band). Wingtips feature a black subterminal band surrounded by the white medial band, and white primary tips. The pattern on the wingtips helps to distinguish this species from similar laughing gulls (
In non-breeding plumage, the all-black head reduces to a patchy black to gray hood that extends from the crown to the nape. The forehead and throat become white. The legs and feet turn nearly black as does the bill, which retains a reddish tip.
Juvenile and first-year adults feature duller, gray to brown plumage. These young gulls more closely resemble the non-breeding adult plumage as they display a patchy hood, and a blackish bill and legs. The nape and mantle have a brownish tinge and the white tail features a black distal band.
Like many hatchling gulls,chicks are downy and overall speckled with shades of brown and tan to aid in camouflage.
This species displays little sexual dimorphism and are identical in plumage, but males tend to be slightly larger in bill and body size. ("National Geographic Complete Birds of North America", 2006; Burger and Gochfeld, 2009; ; "Franklin's gull Larus pipixcan", 2000)
In most pairs, both the male and female participate in building a nest of floating vegetation. Males that do not attract females after 1 to 2 weeks after establishing territory will begin to construct a nest alone. Both parents feature 3 brood patches, making both adequate incubators. Parents tend the chicks constantly after hatching, but this care gradually decreases after 8 to 10 days. Both parents gather and regurgitate food for the young. The young consume mainly earthworms but also grubs and insects. Parents actively feed the young until a week after they begin to fly. Parents will clean up after their young by removing eggshells and feces and relocating the waste 5 meters away from the nest. These sanitary duties may minimize disease within the nest or make it more difficult for predators to smell the nest. (Burger and Gochfeld, 2009)
is a diurnal, migratory species that spends nearly all of its life on or near water. It is a social species that nests in colonies of 100 to 100,000 breeding pairs. During the non-breeding season, this species gathers in large, often mixed-species, flocks that will form dense roosting groups with only 50 to 200 cm between individuals. It's close association with water lends this species to frequent bathing, which is usually a social event done in groups of 2 to 50. These large, boisterous bathing events may last 15 to 20 minutes.
During the breeding season, male Franklin's gulls establish territories and will defend a 4 to 5 m radius around the nest. Females also participate in defending the nesting territory. As the breeding season progresses, floating nests often drift and nest spacing decreases from 7 m to 2 or 3 m. During the non-breeding season, this social species often roosts in very dense groups with only 50 to 200 cm between individuals. (Burger and Gochfeld, 2009)
Compared other gull species, (Burger and Gochfeld, 2009)make significantly louder and more frequent calls. However, has few distinct calls. This species gives alarm calls to alert chicks, mates, and neighbors of potential threats. The most common call given is a long call which is used to deter predators, establish territory and attract females. Other types of calls include a call signaling they will be landing or a courtship call. uses physical displays during courtship. After a male has attracted a female he turns his back to her, bows his head, and raises his white neck feathers to hide his black head. The female displays interest by reciprocating these behaviors and the two will alternate looking at each other and then turning their backs. Like most birds, perceives its environment through chemical, auditory, tactile and visual stimuli.
northern harriers, muskrats, or great horned owls. Predators to adult are peregrine falcons and pomarine jaegers. Other predators include black-crowned night-herons, which will eat the eggs and young. There have been reports of mink killing up to 35 chicks in one night. (Burger and Gochfeld, 2009)nests over the water causing much of their predators to be aquatic or aerial. Types of predators vary geographically. In Minnesota, predators include
As both prey and predator, (Burger and Gochfeld, 2009)plays an important role within its environment. consumes large amounts of insects such as grubs and earthworms which if left unchecked, may cause significant damage to local vegetation and soil. Adults, young, and eggs are food for local terrestrial and aerial predators.
There are no known negative impacts ofon humans.
Heidi Rudolph (author), Minnesota State University, Mankato, Robert Sorensen (editor), Minnesota State University, Mankato, Rachelle Sterling (editor), Special Projects.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
uses sound to communicate
living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.
used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
an area where a freshwater river meets the ocean and tidal influences result in fluctuations in salinity.
parental care is carried out by females
union of egg and spermatozoan
mainly lives in water that is not salty.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
parental care is carried out by males
marshes are wetland areas often dominated by grasses and reeds.
makes seasonal movements between breeding and wintering grounds
Having one mate at a time.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
islands that are not part of continental shelf areas, they are not, and have never been, connected to a continental land mass, most typically these are volcanic islands.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
mainly lives in oceans, seas, or other bodies of salt water.
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
young are relatively well-developed when born
2006. National Geographic Complete Birds of North America. Washington D.C.: The National Geographic Society.
2004. "Franklin's Gull" (On-line). Accessed March 15, 2011 at http://sdakotabirds.com/species/franklins_gull_info.htm.
Great Basin Bird Observatory. 1998. "Franklin's Gull" (On-line). Accessed April 30, 2011 at http://www.gbbo.org/pdf/bcp/41_Franklin's%20Gull.pdf.
USGS. 2000. "Franklin's gull Larus pipixcan" (On-line). Accessed April 30, 2011 at http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i0590id.html.
Burger, J., M. Gochfeld. 2009. "Birds of North America Online" (On-line). Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan). Accessed April 30, 2011 at : http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/116.
Burger, J., J. Shisler. 1978. Nest site selection and competitive interactions of herring and laughing gulls in New Jersey. The Auk, 95: 252-266.
Clapp, R., M. Klimkiewicz, J. Kennard. 1982. Longevity records of North American birds: Gaviidae through Alcidae. Journal of Field Ornithology, 53: 81-124, 125-208.
Dawson, W., A. Bennett, J. Hudson. 1976. Metabolism and thermoregulation in hatchling ring-billed gulls. The Condor, 78: 49-60.