Bonaparte’s Gull

Larus philadelphia

Bonaparte's Gull


These gulls are quite small, measuring only 11 inches long with a wing span of 32 inches. They are different from other gulls because they have a black head and a completely black bill. In the winter their head is white with only a small patch of black behind their eyes.

Range & Habitat

Bonaparte’s gulls can be found on the coasts of the Pacific Ocean including B.C., Atlantic Ocean , and the Gulf of the US. These gulls live by lakes and streams from Alaska to Quebec, with a large majority of gulls living in Manitoba.

Diet & Behaviour

The major food sources of these water-loving gulls are fish, crustacea, snails and marine worms, but they also make their diets of flying insects in the summer time. They are both ground feeders and flycatchers depending on the season. They dip down to the surface of the water to catch their prey or they dive into the water for food and stroke through the water before gliding to the surface.

Lifecycle & Threats

These gulls nest in large numbers and produce two to three eggs at a time. Threats to Bonaparte’s gull are chemical pollutants in the water and the fish they eat, and loss of habitat to farming and forestry.


COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information


Photo: LenBlumin