Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Franklin’s Gull (Larus pipixcan)


French: Mouette de Franklin German: Präriemöwe Spanish: Gaviota pipizcan

Larus Pipixcan


, 1831,



Some authors place this species and other “hooded gulls” in genus Leucophaeus (see L. modestus). Considered closely related to L. atricilla, with an almost equally unspecialized display repertoire. Monotypic.


Inland North America. In Canada from E Alberta to SW Manitoba and in USA from Montana to Minnesota, with scattered populations in N Rocky Mts and Great Basin. Winters mainly off W South America, S to Chile.

Descriptive notes

32–38 cm; 203–371 g; wingspan 86–97 cm. A smallish, somewhat dove-like gull. Resembles L. atricilla but smaller and more compact, with shorter,... read more


Nasal and laughing but higher-pitched, more hollow-sounding and less penetrating than L.... read more


Coasts, lakes, marshes, fields and rubbish dumps. The breeding population principally inhabits the... read more

Food and feeding

In breeding season, almost exclusively earthworms or emerging chironomids; also aquatic invertebrates, grasshoppers, and incidentally small... read more


Highly synchronous within colonies; arrives near colonies in mid April, laying mainly in mid to late May, but later in some areas, e.g. not... read more


Most birds migrate through the interior USA to then Gulf Coast, then across Mexico to Pacific coast... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population post-2000 estimated at 1–1·5 million individuals. The species is currently believed to be increasing... read more

Recommended citation

Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Franklin’s Gull (Larus pipixcan). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 20 November 2019).