Franklin’s Gull

Incredibly there are two records for Franklin’s Gull in the offshore Bering Sea, both of which were from Saint Paul Island. The first individual lingered from June 20-22, 1976. The second was found resting in the small pond at Marunich on May 20, 2002. This species is a very long distance migrant, but breeds no closer to the Bering Sea than Northeastern Alberta. Nonetheless, the species is regarded as casual across south coastal Alaska. The obvious species for a source of confusion on the Pribilofs is the regular Black-headed Gull. The wingtip patterns of the two species are completely different, with Franklin’s possessing a white bar near the end of the black primaries, and white wingtips, and Black-headed Gull showing black wingtips, with no mirrors, extensive black on the underwing and white on the upperwing leading primaries and primary coverts. In addition to the wing differences, the two species differ in the extent of their eye crescents (much larger and more prominent on Franklin’s) and color of their heads (black, or nearly so in Franklin’s, brown in Black-headed Gull).