Field Guide

Photo credit: Jean-Guy Dallaire

Click for explorable range map
Franklin's Gull

The Franklin's Gull (Larus pipixcan) is a small gull. It breeds in central provinces of Canada and adjacent states of the northern USA. It is migratory, wintering in the Caribbean, Peru and Chile.

This species is easy to identify. The summer adult's body is white and its back and wings are much darker grey than all other gulls of similar size except the larger Laughing Gull. The wings have black tips with an adjacent white band. The bill and legs are red. The black hood of the breeding adult is mostly lost in winter.

Young birds are similar to the adult but have less developed hoods and lack the white wing band. They take three years to reach maturity.

Franklin's Gulls breed in colonies near prairie lakes. The nest is constructed on the ground, or sometimes floating. The 2 or 3 eggs are incubated for about three weeks.

These are omnivores like most Larus gulls, and they will scavenge as well as seeking suitable small prey.

This bird was named after the Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin.

Although Franklin's Gull is uncommon on the coasts of North America, it occurs as a rare vagrant to northwest Europe, south and west Africa, Australia and Japan, with a single record from Eilat, Israel in 2002 (Smith 2002).


* Smith, James (2002) A Franklin's Gull at Eilat - new to Israel and the Middle East Birding World Vol 16. No. 7 p. 281 (illustrated with a colour photograph of the bird alongside two Slender-billed Gulls)

Descriptions from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Used under terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Have a photo or sound recording that GeoBirds could use? Email us:

Notice errors or omissions in the species accounts? Edit the article at Wikipedia or send your changes to