Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
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Little Gull

Little Gull
Larus minutus
Gull-like Birds | Family: Gulls and Terns, Laridae

Over 50% of the species' North American breeding range lies within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

This tiny gull was known for decades as a rare winter visitor to the Northeast before it was found nesting in Ontario. Its flight is rather buoyant and tern-like, and it often plucks food from the surface while on the wing or dives from the air after minnows and aquatic insects. Often consorts with Bonaparte's Gulls.

Description

11" (28 cm). The smallest gull. Summer adult has pale gray back and wings, white underparts, black hood, and blackish underwings. Winter plumage similar, but head white with partial gray cap and dark spot behind eye. Dark red bill and legs. Immature has narrow black tail tip, diagonal dark bar on forewing, and dark primaries.

Voice

A soft kek-kek-kek-kek.

Nesting

3 olive-brown eggs, with dark spots, in a nest lined with grass and leaves, placed among marsh vegetation.

Habitat

Inland marshes, meadows, lakes, and rivers; also coastal bays, flats, harbors, and estuaries.

Range/Migration

Central Europe east to southern Siberia. In recent years, breeds locally in Ontario and Wisconsin; winters regularly in small numbers in eastern North America, especially along coast from New Brunswick to New Jersey and on Great Lakes.