The Bonaparte's Gull is
the smallest gull found in
the South Dakota. They are different than many other gulls in that they rarely
garbage dumps. They are also unusual in that they nests in trees instead of on the
ground. Bonaparte's Gulls are named after a distant cousin of Napoleon.
Habitat: Usually near rivers and
lakes during migration through the state. During the summer breeding
season, they are found along lakeshores and riversides bordered by coniferous
Diet: Insects, fish, crustaceans,
but mostly insects on migration through the state.
Behavior: Forages while in flight, by dipping to
the surface to pick up items or sometimes plunge-diving. They also can
"fly-catch, snatching insects during flight, and will also pick up food
items while wading or swimming.
Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota. In
breeding range, the nest of a Bonaparte's Gull is a platform of sticks, lined
with softer vegetative material such as grasses or moss, placed in a conifer
tree, or sometimes on the ground. The female usually lays 3 eggs, and both
parents help to incubate them. When the eggs hatch, both parents help to
feed the young.
Song: Low harsh grrrrrr or reeeep.
Migration: More common in the east than in the west during migration. Summers in
Canada and Alaska, winters along U.S. coasts and southward.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Bonaparte's Gull"
Photo Information: April 2nd, 2004 -- Lake Thompson -- Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Bonaparte's Gull photos.