Guide to Boreal Birds
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.
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.
A soft kek-kek-kek-kek.
3 olive-brown eggs, with dark spots, in a nest lined with grass and leaves, placed among marsh vegetation.
Inland marshes, meadows, lakes, and rivers; also coastal bays, flats, harbors, and estuaries.
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.