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Franklin's Gull

Leucophaeus pipixcan ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: LARIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A small, black-headed gull of the prairies, the Franklin's Gull is a common sight in the interior of North America, following plows to eat exposed worms, insects, and mice.

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Appearance

Gulls
Gulls
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Small gull.
  • Back ashy gray.
  • Underparts white.
  • Wingtips black with white tips and a white band.
  • Entire head black in breeding season.

Immature Description

Juvenile: White underneath, with dusky wash on sides of neck and across breast. Crown, ear region, and nape dark dusky gray. Forehead, chin, and throat white. White crescents above and below eyes. Back and wings dusky brownish gray. Tail pale gray with black subterminal band, not including white outer feathers.
First winter (Basic I) Plumage: Back gray, but wings brownish. Head pale with dark half-hood including eyes. Eye crescents thicker, and usually joining at rear. Nape whitish. Underside white. Tail white at base with broad blackish subterminal band not including white outer tail feathers.
First summer (Alternate I) Plumage: Like adult winter.

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Similar Species

  • Laughing Gull is slightly larger, with longer wings and bill. Laughing lacks a white band between the black primaries and the gray rest of wing, but may have small white spots at the tips of the primaries. In winter plumage, Laughing Gull has a lighter gray and less extensive patch on the back of the head, resembling smudging rather than a half hood. Tail is all white, lacking the gray center of Franklin's.