Bird Quiz: Bonaparte

Bird Quiz: Bonaparte

Stone Ng
Published: 02/02/2012

Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service

On Day 15 of the 2012 Bird-A-Day Challenge, Features Editor Rene Ebersole saw a Bonaparte’s gull. She’s on Day 33 already! (Click here to learn more about the BAD challenge. And don’t forget to let us know that you’re participating, through Facebook or Twitter, @audubonmagazine.)

Take our quiz below to determine how much you know about this gull. Scroll past the picture for the answers.

1. Who was Bonaparte’s gull named after?
a. Napoleon Bonaparte
b. José Bonaparte
c. Charles Bonaparte

2. Where do Bonaparte’s gulls nest?
a. On tree branches
b. On the ground near lakes and ponds
c. On cliffsides near the ocean
d. In garbage dumps

3. True or False: Bonaparte’s gulls are the largest gull species.

4. What does it mean when a Bonaparte’s gull has a black head? The bird is
a. breeding
b. angry
c. hungry and looking for food
d. hot and needs to cool down

5. True or False: There are 33 species in the Laridae family, the one to which the Bonaparte’s gull belongs.


Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service
 
 

Answers

1. Who was Bonaparte’s gull named after?
C, Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a French ornithologist and one of Napoleon’s nephews. During the 1820s and 1830s, Bonaparte spent time in the United States working with ornithologists Alexander Wilson and John James Audubon. He also participated actively in the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. (Source: Cornell’s All About Birds.)

2. Where do Bonaparte’s gulls nest?
A, on tree branches. Bonaparte’s gulls are the only gulls to do that. According to Cornell’s All About Birds, the gulls make their nests out of open cups of twigs, small branches, and bark lined with mosses and lichens. Clutches can be as small as one egg or as many as four.

3. True or False: Bonaparte’s gulls are the largest gulls.
False. Weighing in at less than half a pound, Bonaparte’s gulls are actually one of the smallest species of gull. According to Birds of North America, the little gull and the Saunders’ gull are smaller.

4. What does it mean when a Bonaparte’s gull has a black head? The bird is
A, breeding. This black head—also called a hood—indicates the adult is looking for a mate. At the start of breeding season, the bird’s chest may also be a slightly rosy hue, according to Birds of North America online. Adult Bonaparte’s gulls with white heads are non-breeding.

5. True or False: There are 33 species in the Laridae family, the one to which the Bonaparte’s gull belongs.
True. This family, which includes gulls, terns, and skimmers, is part of the Charadriiformes order. Other members include plovers, oystercatchers, sandpipers, auks, and puffins.