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Ross's Gull

Silhouette GullsGulls
Ross's GullRhodostethia rosea
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Laridae

Basic Description

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
image of range map for Ross's Gull
Year-roundBreedingMigrationNonbreeding
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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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.

Other Names

  • Gaviota Rosada (Spanish)
  • Mouette rosée (French)
  • Cool Facts

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