Skip to Content

Little Gull Life History


Habitat Lakes and PondsBreeds in shallow, freshwater wetlands, such as marshes. Winters along coasts, large lakes, and rivers.Back to top


Food Aquatic invertebratesFlying insects, small fish, and aquatic invertebrates.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

A floating platform of vegetation, placed in thick reeds above water.

Nesting Facts

Clutch Size:1-4 eggs
Egg Description:Olive to buff, marked with numerous small spots and blotches of dark brown, often concentrated around the larger end.
Condition at Hatching:Semiprecocial with eyes open. Covered in down. Able to stand within a day, leave nest within a few days of hatching.
Back to top


Behavior DabblerFlies along and plucks food from surface of water.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernThere is little information on Little Gull population numbers and trends. Only a very small population lives in North America, which may have increased since the 1960s. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates a continental total of 100-200 breeding birds, and lists it as a Species of High Concern. Little Gull rates a 13 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds Watch List. Back to top


Ewins, Peter J. and D. V. Weseloh. (1999). Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Kushlan, J. A., M. J. Steinkamp, K. C. Parsons, J. Capp, M. A. Cruz, M. Coulter, I. Davidson, L. Dickson, N. Edelson, R. Elliott, R. M. Erwin, S. Hatch, S. Kress, R. Milko, S. Miller, K. Mills, R. Paul, R. Phillips, J. E. Saliva, W. Sydeman, J. Trapp, J. Wheeler and K. Wohl (2002). Waterbird conservation for the Americas: The North American waterbird conservation plan, version 1. Washington, DC, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA.

Back to top

Need Bird ID Help? Try Merlin

Close Merlin