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Franklin's Gull

Silhouette GullsGulls
Franklin's GullLeucophaeus pipixcan
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Laridae

Basic Description

A delicate seabird that nests by the thousands in North American marshes, the Franklin’s Gull spends winters along the coasts of Chile and Peru. Its buoyant, swift, graceful flight is useful for catching both flying insects and small fish, as well as for making its long migrations. Breeding adults have black heads and pink-tinged underparts, leading to their folk name of “rosy dove.” Franklin’s Gulls are gregarious throughout the year, and on the wintering grounds more than a million have been reported in a single day.

More ID Info
image of range map for Franklin's Gull
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

National Wildlife Refuges are great places to find Franklin’s Gull breeding colonies and to watch the gulls in high breeding plumage as they court and nest. After breeding, Franklin’s Gulls spend a few months moving around the North American interior before heading southward. During this period they are widespread: look for them in farm fields (especially where disking operations turn up insects and worms) and lakeshores, even at high elevation. Foul weather can ground migrating Franklin’s Gulls, so birding in autumn after a storm might turn them up unexpectedly.

Other Names

  • Gaviota Pipizcan (Spanish)
  • Mouette de Franklin (French)
  • Cool Facts