Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Bird of the day No. 2 Bonaparte's gull

THE Bonaparte's gull: The Bonaparte's Gull is a small species, larger only than the little gull and the Saunder's gull among all gull species. Adults are 28–38 cm (11–15 in) long with a 76–84 cm (30–33 in) wingspan and a body mass of 162–270 g (5.7–9.5 oz).They have a black hood and a short thin dark bill. The body is mainly white with pale grey back and upper wings. The underwing is pale and the wing tips are dark. They have pink legs. In winter, the head is white.

In their first summer, the appearance of Bonaparte's Gull is similar to that in its first winter, but paler due to wear. Fewer than 5% of Bonaparte's Gulls acquire a dark hood in their first summer, and on those that do, the hood is duller than on breeding adults.
Another bird that has always eluded me. The bonaparte's gull is fairly hard to distinguish when in a large flock of black-headed gulls. The summer plumage tho, differs from the black headed gull due to the hood being more extensive. This year i'm going to go to the Outer Hebrides, so may find one in breeding plumage, fingers crossed. They do pop up here and there so may turn up anywhere!

Fun fact: Although currently placed in the genus Larus, recent genetic and taxonomic studies have suggested that Bonaparte’s gull may in future be moved to the genus Chroicocephalus

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