Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
© Dominic Sherony/Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0)

Ross's Gull

Ross's Gull
Rhodostethia rosea
Gull-like Birds | Family: Gulls and Terns, Laridae

An estimated 54% of the species' North American breeding range lies within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

This beautiful Siberian gull winters mainly above the Arctic Circle, only rarely visiting places where it can be seen by most birders. The appearance of a Ross's Gull in settled areas attracts hundreds of observers and often makes headlines in newspapers.

Description

12-14" (30-36 cm). A very rare visitor from the Arctic. Breeding adults have narrow black collar; pale gray back and wings, including underwings; pinkish tinge on underparts; and wedge-shaped tail. Winter adults lack collar and pinkish tinge. Flight graceful and tern-like.

Voice

A harsh miaw; usually silent in winter.

Nesting

2 or 3 deep olive eggs, spotted with brown, in a grass-lined depression.

Habitat

Breeds on swampy tundra; winters near pack ice. Rarely visits river mouths and coastal beaches.

Range/Migration

Breeds mainly in Old World Arctic, but a few nest in Canada. Appears as migrant off northern Alaska. Winters very rarely south to British Columbia and mid-Atlantic Coast. Also in Eurasia.