Status: Rare casual spring and fall migrant statewide.
Documentation: Photograph: 26 Apr 1995 Wehrspann Lake, Sarpy Co (Gubanyi 1996).
Taxonomy: No subspecies are recognized.
Spring: There are five records. The alternate-plumaged individual at Wehrspann Lake 26 Apr 1995 (cited above) was with a large flock of Bonaparte’s Gulls, typical of this species (and Black-headed Gull). The June record is probably of a one-year-old that did not complete migration.
19-20 Apr 1997 third alternate adult Lake McConaughy, Keith Co (Brogie 1998)
26 Apr 1995 Sarpy Co (cited above)
7 May 2000 first alternate Massie WPA, Clay Co (Jorgensen 2012)
15 May 2005 juvenile Calamus Reservoir, Loup Co (Silcock 2005a)
21 Jun 2005 first alternate Lake McConaughy (Silcock 2005b).
Fall: As in spring, most fall migrants have been associated with flocks of Bonaparte’s Gulls. There are 14 records, including five in 1998:
27 Aug 2006 juvenile Lake Ogallala, Keith Co (Silcock 2006)
31 Aug-14 Sep 2014 juvenile photographed Gavin’s Point Dam, Cedar Co (Silcock 2014)
6 Sep 1997 juvenile Lake Minatare, Scotts Bluff Co (Brogie 1998)
8 Sep 1998 juvenile molting to first basic Lake Ogallala (Brogie 1999)
8 Sep 1998 juvenile Lake McConaughy (different bird from above; Brogie 1999)
17 Sep 2005 basic adult Lake McConaughy (Silcock 2005c)
20 Sep 1998 juvenile molting to first basic Lake McConaughy (Brogie 1999)
3-5 Oct 1996 juvenile Pawnee Lake, Lancaster Co (Brogie 1997)
17-18 Oct 1998 juvenile molting to first basic Lake Minatare (Brogie 1999)
19 Oct 1997 second or third basic Summit Reservoir SRA, Burt Co (Silcock and Jorgensen 1997)
25 Oct 2006 basic adult Branched Oak Lake, Lancaster Co (Silcock 2006)
1 Nov 1998 first basic Sutherland Reservoir, Lincoln Co (Brogie 1999)
1 Nov 2003 second basic Gavins Point Dam (Brogie 2004)
19-21 Dec 2003 definitive basic Lake McConaughy (Brogie 2005).
Comments: Like Black-headed Gull, Little Gull is an Eurasian species that has become established in North America, breeding mostly around western Hudson Bay and formerly around the Great Lakes; the first North American breeding record was in 1962 (Howell and Dunn 2007). There is a breeding record for North Heron Lake in southwest Minnesota in 1986 (Ewins and Weseloh 2020), interestingly the year and location of the first Black-headed Gull record for that state (see Black-headed Gull). Some authors suggest that Little Gull may have always been in North America but in very low numbers (see Ewins and Weseloh, 2020). Little Gull and Bonaparte’s Gull breed in the Hudson Bay region, and usually migrate together (see Black-headed Gull).
SRA: State Recreation Area
WPA: Waterfowl Production Area
Photograph (top) of a Little Gull at Gavins Point Dam, Cedar Co 2 Sep 2014 by John Carlini.
Brogie, M.A. 1997. 1996 (Eighth) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 65: 115-126.
Brogie, M.A. 1998. 1997 (Ninth) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 66: 147-159.
Brogie, M.A. 1999. 1998 (Tenth) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 67: 141-152.
Brogie, M.A. 2004. 2003 (15th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 72: 59-65.
Brogie, M.A. 2005. 2004 (16th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 73: 78-84.
Ewins, P.J. and D.V. Weseloh. 2020. Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.litgul.01.
Gubanyi, J.G. 1996. 1995 (Seventh) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 64: 132-138.
Howell, S.N.G., and J. Dunn. 2007. Gulls of the Americas. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, New York, USA.
Jorgensen, J.G. 2002. 2002 (sic; =2000). (12th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 70: 84-90.
Silcock, W.R. 2005a. Spring Field Report, March-May 2005. NBR 73: 46-67.
Silcock. W.R. 2005b. Summer Field Report, June-July 2005. NBR 73: 94-113.
Silcock, W.R. 2005c. Fall Field Report, August-November 2005. NBR 73: 134-150.
Silcock, W.R. 2006. Fall Field Report, August-November 2006. NBR 74: 110-128.
Silcock, W.R. 2014. Fall Field Report, August-November 2014. NBR 82: 150-181.
Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 1997. Fall Field Report. August-November 1997. NBR 65: 159-178.
Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2020. Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus), Version 1.0. In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org