- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Laridae
The graceful, pink-tinged Ross's Gull lives in the remote far north, breeding on arctic tundra and spending winters along the edges of pack ice. Small and almost dovelike, with a distinctive wedge-shaped tail, this gull feeds on small fish and insects, even probing into algae under the ice. When it makes a rare appearance farther south in North America, it’s a crowd pleaser washed in rosy pink, with a tiny black bill, red feet, and thin, black collar. Immatures have a bold black-and-white M-pattern on the wings.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Finding a Ross’s Gull is a challenge, particularly as climate change warms the Arctic and makes the location of sea ice unpredictable. The most accessible place to see one is at Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska, in October. If the ice is near town, thousands may pass through. They're occasionally reported in early spring from Bering Sea sites such as St. Lawrence Island. Anywhere else in North America they're extremely rare, and may be found among Arctic Terns or Bonaparte's Gulls.
- Gaviota Rosada (Spanish)
- Mouette rosée (French)
- Cool Facts
- Ross’s Gulls often nest near or among Arctic Terns, probably for the extra protection from predators that these very aggressive terns provide.
- A lone wintering Ross’s Gull along Massachusetts’s Merrimack River was hailed as the “bird of the century” when it was discovered in 1975. Hundreds of birders from all over North America visited Salisbury in hopes of seeing this one bird. This event was credited with raising the profile of “birding” in the United States, as it brought together birders from many states who had not realized there were so many others who shared their interest.