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Franklin's Rosy Gull

Franklin's Rosy Gull

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

Birds of America

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.


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[Franklin's Gull.]

[Larus pipixcan.]


The following account of this species by Dr. RICHARDSON is taken from the Fauna Boreali-Americana.

"Franklin's Rosy Gull, with vermilion bill and feet; mantle pearl-grey; five exterior quills broadly barred with black, the first one tipped with white for an inch; tarsus twenty lines long; hood black in summer.

"This is a very common Gull in the interior of the Fur Countries, where it frequents the shores of the larger lakes. It is generally seen in flocks, and is very noisy. It breeds in marshy places. ORD's description of his Black-headed Gull (Wils. ix. p. 89.) corresponds with our specimens, except that the conspicuous white end of the first quill is not noticed: the figure (Pl. 74, fig. 4.) differs in the primaries being entirely black. The Prince of MUSIGNANO gives the totally black primaries, and a tarsus nearly two inches long, as part of the specific character of his Larus Atricilla, to which he refers WILSON's bird; though, in his Observations, he states that the adult specimens have the primaries, with the exception of the first and second, tipped with white. L. Franklinii cannot be referred either to the L. Atricilla or L. melanocephalus of M. TEMMINCK: the first has a lead-coloured hood and deep black quill-feathers, untipped by white; and the black hood of the second does not descend lower on the throat than on the nape; its quill-feathers are also differently marked, and its tarsus is longer. His L. ridibundus and L. capistratus have brown heads, and the interior of the wings grey; the latter has also a much smaller bill than our L. Franklinii.

"Description of a male killed June 6, 1827, on the Saskatchewan.

"Colour.--Both eyelids, the neck, rump, tail, and whole under plumage, white, the latter and interior of the wings deeply tinged with peach-blossom red. Black hood covering three-quarters of an inch of the nape, and extending as much lower on the throat. Mantle and wings bluish-grey. The outer web of the first quill-feather is black to near the tip, and a broad band of the same crosses the ends of the five outer primaries; all the quill-feathers are terminated with white, that on the first primary and of all the secondaries being upwards of an inch long; all the shafts whitish. Bill and legs vermilion, the former obscurely barred near the tip.

"Form.--Bill rather stout, curved from the nostrils, with the gonys forming an evident salient angle; its depth equal to twice its breadth. Wings an inch and a half longer than the perfectly even tail. Thighs an inch bare.

"A female and another male, killed at the same place six weeks later in the season, correspond minutely with the above.

"Dimensions of a male. Length to end of tail 17 inches; tail 4 1/2; wing 11; bill along the ridge 1 5/12; rictus 1 11/12; tarsus 1 8/12; middle toe 1 3/12, its nail (4 1/4)/12; inner toe 1; hind toe 3/12, its nail 1/12."

LARUS FRANKLINII, Franklin's Rosy Gull, Swains. and Rich. F. Bor. Amer.,vol. ii. p. 424.

FRANKLIN'S ROSY GULL, Larus Franklinii, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v. p. 323.

Male, 17, wing, 11.

Interior of Fur Countries, breeding on the edges of large lakes.

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