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Ross's Gull

Rhodostethia rosea ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: LARIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A small, dove-like gull, the pink Ross's Gull is rarely seen outside of the Arctic. It was unknown in the continental United States until an individual appeared in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1975, but sightings now occur nearly every year.

Merlin Bird ID app
BNA ML combo package

Appearance

Gulls
Gulls
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Small gull.
  • Mostly white.
  • Pale gray back.
  • Whitish or light pink underside.
  • Small, dark bill.
  • Slightly pointed tail.
  • Thin, dark ring around neck in breeding season.

Immature Description

Juvenal Plumage: Dusky brown overall. Belly white. Light edges to dark back feathers give scaly appearance. Dark cap. White throat and eyeline. Tail white, with black tips to elongated middle feathers. Black bar across wings, makes "M" across back visible in flight. Wingtips black. Dark spot behind eyes. Bill black. Legs flesh-brown.
First Winter (Basic I) Plumage: Back pale gray. Underparts white. Head white. Black spot behind eyes. Dark smudgy area around eyes. Tail white, with black tips to elongated middle feathers. Black bar across wings, makes "M" across back visible in flight. Wingtips black. Bill black. Legs flesh-brown.
First Summer (Alternate I) Plumage: Ring around neck; slightly smudgy at back. White underparts, washed rosy. Head white. Tail white. Black bar across wings makes "M" across back visible in flight. Wingtips black. Legs bright red. Looks like an adult with immature wings.

Range Map Help

Ross
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Field MarksHelp

  • Adult breeding

    Ross's Gull

    Adult breeding
    • © 2004 Cornell Lab of Ornithology
  • Adult breeding

    Ross's Gull

    Adult breeding
    • © L Page Brown / CLO

Similar Species

  • Little Gull has dark underwings, but has a pointed tail, more rounded wings, and has a dark hood during breeding season and a dark cap in winter.