- 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.
- The oldest recorded Franklin's Gull was at least 9 years, 5 months old when it was shot in Montana in 1972. It had been banded in the same state in 1963.
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.
Franklin's Gull populations declined throughout their range by almost 3% per year between 1966 and 2015, resulting in a cumulative decline of 78% according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. In the U.S., declines were over 6% per year during that same period, which amounts to a 96% decline. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates between 315,608-990,864 continental breeding birds and lists it as a Species of Moderate Concern. The species rates an 11 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Franklin's Gull is listed as Common Bird in Steep Decline on the 2014 State of the Birds Report, but is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds Watch List. These birds depend 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.
- 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.
- Kushlan, J.A., et al. 2002. Waterbird conservation for the Americas: the North American Waterbird Conservation Plan, version 1. Waterbird Conservation for the Americas. Washington, DC.
- North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee. 2014. State of the Birds 2014 Report. U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, DC.
- North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2016. The State of North
America’s Birds 2016. Environment and Climate Change Canada: Ottawa, Ontario.
- USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2016. Longevity records of North American Birds.
- USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2015. North American Breeding Bird Survey 1966–2015 Analysis.