- 12.6–14.2 in
- 33.5–37.4 in
- 7.8–11.8 oz
- Mouette de Franklin (French)
- Gaviota de Franklin, Gaviotin, Caguil, Caulle, Fardella (Spanish)
- The Franklin's Gull is unique among gulls in having two complete molts each year rather than one.
- The floating nest of the Franklin's Gull gradually sinks as the material below the water surface decays, and it requires continual maintenance. Both parents add new nest material daily until one or two weeks before departing the colony. Older chicks also add nest material from the immediate vicinity of the nest.
- In breeding plumage, and sometimes in nonbreeding plumage as well, the Franklin's Gull often shows a rosy pink cast (rarely salmon) on its chest and abdomen. This color is most apparent on the shafts and bases of its feathers. The color fades as the breeding season progresses as the pigment is broken down by sunlight.
Nests in marshes and along inland lakes. Winters along coast in bays, estuaries, and along sandy beaches.
Insects, earthworms, fish, mice, garbage, seeds.
- Clutch Size
- 1–4 eggs
- Egg Description
- Greenish brown with dark splotches.
- Condition at Hatching
- Semiprecocial with eyes open. Covered in down. Able to stand within a day, but usually remain in nest for three weeks.
A floating platform of vegetation, placed in thick reeds above water. Nests in colonies.
Forages while walking or swimming. Forages in dense flocks. Follows plows. Catches flying insects on the wing.
The Franklin's Gull depends on extensive prairie marshes for breeding, and entire colonies may shift sites from year to year depending on water levels. Once threatened by habitat loss due to large-scale drainage projects and the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s, this species has regained numbers with the creation of large wetlands, mainly on protected national wildlife refuges. Colony shifts continue to occur, however, influenced by drought and fluctuating water levels. Populations appear to be increasing.
- Burger, J., and M. Gochfeld. 1994. Franklin's Gull (Larus pipixcan). In The Birds of North America, No. 116 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists' Union.