Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)
Status in the Checklist Area - Uncommon to rare

A very small gull that looks similar to terns especially in flight. Nests in the northern half of the province near lakes and ponds. Unique among gulls for often using abandoned nests in the trees of other birds to lay their eggs and raise their young in. Feeds mostly on insects but also fish and shrimp during migration. Commonly seen on the coast during spring and fall migration. Many migrate south as far as central Mexico. Usually found near or on water and not often seen in fields with other gulls. A two year gull; acquires adult plumage in its second summer.

Similar species:
A small gull that could appear like a tern at first glance. Franklin's Gull (accidental to the checklist area) and Black-headed Gull (not recorded) are similar. Pay attention to wing pattern and bill and leg colour.

Best viewing locations:
Seen annually from Island 22 Regional Park, the lower reaches of the Vedder River and at Harrison Lake.

Ehrlich, Dobkin and Wheye, (1988)

Noteworthy Data
04-May-2011 Island 22 Regional Park, Chilliwack C. McDonald, 2011b Three breeding plumagd adults feeding on insect hatch with Mew Gulls over Fraser River.
27-Apr-2011 Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park, Popkum C. McDonald, 2011a Two in breeding plumage perched on logs in lake.
03-Apr-2011 Harrison Lake M. Williams, 2011 First summer plumage
01-Oct-2010 Kerr Road, Chilliwack G. Gadsden, 2010b First winter plumage in corn stubble field with other gulls
03-Nov-2009 Vedder Canal, Chilliwack G. Gadsden, 2009 Feeding on salmon eggs with other gulls
19-Oct-2009 Harrison Lake
K. R. Jones, 2009b Flock of over 100 evading PEFA, 2 BAEA and RTHA. Most ever detected at the same time in checklist area.
13-Nov-2008 Kent M. Brown, 2008b Feeding in a field
04-May-2000 Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park, Popkum G. Gadsden, 2000 Adult in breeding plumage perched on log in lake.
Audio and Video    
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