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Bonaparte’s Gulls

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Bonaparte’s Gulls, non-breeding plumage

By: Pat Coate

Another quick stop I made while up in the Buffalo area was Beaver Island State Park. The park sits on the southern edge of Grand Island, which is an island in the Niagara River. The park offers a number of habitats including wetlands, lagoon/pond, wooded, and beach areas. At the southern-most end of the park, there were mudflat and shallow areas on the river where hundreds of Bonaparte’s gulls had gathered.

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Bonaparte’s Gulls, with a Ring-billed gull mixed in

Bonaparte’s gulls are on the smaller side – there is a ring-billed gull mixed in with the Bonaparte’s gulls in these pictures that allow for a size comparison. Bonaparte’s breed in remote areas of northern Canada. In non-breeding plumage (as shown) the birds have mostly white heads with a black spot behind their eye, while in breeding plumage the whole head will be black.

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Bonaparte’s Gulls in flight

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Bonaparte’s Gulls


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