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Merlin Bird ID

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    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.
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    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, D.C.: Waterbird Conservation for the Americas.

    Sibley, David Allen. 2014. The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A Knopf, New York.

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