Leucophaeus Pipixcan – Franklin’s Gull

Leucophaeus Pipixcan - Franklin's Gull found migrating in most part of the US

Franklin’s gull, Leucophaeus pipixcan is a tiny gull. The name Leucophaeus is derived from the Greek words leukos, which means “white,” and phaios, which means “dusky.” The specific pipixcan is a Nahuatl word for a variety of gulls.

Quick Overview: Leucophaeus Pipixcan – Franklin’s Gull
Body size: Around 13-15 in (33-38 cm) and a weight of 335 g (11.81 oz)
Main colors: Gray, Black, White, Red, Pink
Range: Throughout the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: March, April, May, September, October, November
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Franklin’s Gull Description

A medium-sized gull with medium-gray upper parts. Breeding plumage has a black head with thick white eye arcs, big white spots on black wingtips, and a deep red bill and legs. White underparts are frequently tinted with pink. Nonbreeding plumage includes a partly black hood, a dark bill, and legs.

Leucophaeus Pipixcan - Franklin's Gull found migrating in most part of the US
Leucophaeus Pipixcan – Franklin’s Gull. Source: Wikipedia

Size

These birds have a length of 13-15 in (33-38 cm) and a weight of 335 g (11.81 oz). Their wings could range from 35-36 in (89-91 cm).

Feeding

Insects and fish are the most common. Summer diet consists primarily of insects (particularly aquatic insects and grasshoppers) and earthworms, as well as seeds, leeches, snails, and crayfish.

Habitat

Most Franklin’s Gulls spend the winter south of the Equator along South America’s west coast… Prairies, inland marshes; in winter, coasts and ocean.

Behavior

Franklin’s Gulls are highly sociable throughout migration and on wintering grounds, with no conflict among flock members. When roosting, they coexist peacefully with other gulls, terns, and shorebirds in mixed groups.

Leucophaeus Pipixcan Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Laridae
  • Genus: Leucophaeus
  • Species: Leucophaeus pipixcan

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds are during the Spring season (March-May) and during the Autumn season (September – November).

Distribution of the Franklin’s Gull in the USA

This species breeds in marshes, sloughs, and wetlands around lakes from northern Alberta east to Manitoba, and south from northern Utah to Minnesota. It also breeds in a few scattered marshes in the western states.

The Franklin’s Gull can be found in the following states in the United States – Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, \North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Leucophaeus Pipixcan – Franklin’s Gull

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