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Bonaparte’s Gull

For many gulls, it’s difficult to discern between the subtle variations of eye color, leg color and wing patterns to make an identification.  Bonaparte’s Gulls, on the other hand, can be identified on sight.

The Bonaparte’s Gull is on top and the Kildeer is on the bottom for size comparison.  During breeding, the Bonaparte’s Gull has a black head with white stripes on the top and bottom of their eyes.  These gulls have already started to change into their winter plumage, which is a white head with black smudges near their ear hole.  Below is a picture of a Bonaparte’s Gull in transition taken July 24, 2010.

Bonaparte’s Gulls eat small fish, tadpoles and insects.  They enjoy eating from the Great Salt Lake during the summer because of the brine flies.  These next pictures are insane.  There were so many flies that the gulls didn’t even have to make an effort to eat.  They simply opened their beaks and the flies swarmed inside.

These pictures also give you a good idea of how the same species can molt at different times.

I hope those flies are delicious.

When you’ve had enough fly appetizers, there are tadpoles for the main course.

This isn’t a Bonaparte’s Gull, but it’s amazing how many flies are covering the gull.

I’m so glad these flies don’t bite people.

2 Responses to “Bonaparte’s Gull”

  1. Tiffany says:

    The flies are insane! Thanks for the interesting lesson on Bonaparte’s Gulls :-).