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Seabird Species

Franklin's Gull

Franklin's Gull Larus pipixcan

Les Underhill
Animal Demography Unit

Franklin's Gull is a long distance migrant, which breeds mostly in the prairies of central North America and migrates to the Pacific Ocean coast of South America, reaching the far south of Chile and Argentina. It is recorded in South Africa as a vagrant to the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. The first South African record was at Langebaan Lagoon in April 1973.

This bird, with the pinkish wash on the underparts that occurs during breeding, was seen at Lamberts Bay during the ADU/MCM Seabird Ringing Course. It was first spotted by two visiting birders from Durban, Alice and Louis Branford. They saw it on Bird Island, on the sandy area to the harbour side of where the causeway joins the island. It was later seen at the gull and tern roost near the railway bridge at Jakkalsvlei, just north of Lamberts Bay. It was first observed at about noon on Monday 15 October 2001, and was seen on that day and the next.