Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Ross's Gull (Rhodostethia rosea)


French: Mouette rosée German: Rosenmöwe Spanish: Gaviota rosada

Larus roseus

W. MacGillivray

, 1824,

Melville Peninsula, Canada


Resembles Hydrocoloeus minutus in size and plumage sequence, but with very different adult plumage; morphometric analysis suggests that it is an early derivative of a primitive larid or of a hooded larid. Monotypic.


NE Siberia from Taymyr Peninsula E to R Kolyma; also locally in Greenland, and irregularly in N Canada. Winters mainly in Arctic. Limits of distribution very poorly known for all seasons.

Descriptive notes

29–32 cm; 120–250 g; wingspan 82–92 cm. Two-year gull. Dove-like or tern-like, with a buoyant tern-like flight, and unique combination of wedge-shaped tail... read more


Calls are higher-pitched and more melodious than those of most gulls. A short, dry, yapping call "a... read more


Very few nesting colonies found. Breeds in boggy terrain of the upper taiga and tundra, preferring... read more

Food and feeding

Little information. On breeding grounds chiefly insectivorous; on migration and in winter, mainly marine invertebrates (plankton,... read more


Lays in early to mid-June. Forms loose colonies of 2–10 pairs, rarely 18, in tussocks on islands in tundra or taiga pools, often with... read more


Post-breeding movement started by late July, N to Arctic Ocean, and then migrating E or W along the... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Information inadequate to assess true status. Very few breeding localities known, and none regularly monitored. Total population may... read more

Recommended citation

Burger, J., Gochfeld, M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Ross's Gull (Rhodostethia rosea). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 February 2019).