Rossís Gull (Rhodostethis rosea)

Ross's gull was first described by Sir James Clark Ross in 1823, while he was on Parryís expedition to find the North West Passage. However, it was not until more than 60 years later that its breeding range was delineated.

Description

The Rossís gull is probably the most attractive of all the gulls, and by far the most mysterious. Its feathers have an undertone of light pink, which gives it a striking colouration compared to the pale greys and browns of most other species in this family.

Distribution

Most Arctic birds migrate north to the Arctic in the summer to breed on the tundra, but Rossís gull does just the opposite. It breeds in the southern parts of its range, in wooded areas of the Alaskan coast and the marshy and wooded areas associated with Siberian rivers, as well as at Churchill, Manitoba.

Ecology

Rossís gulls nest in small colonies, often among willow scrub, making nests from grasses and leaves. Each pair lays three or four eggs, which are incubated for 23 days. Then, in the fall, they migrate north to the Arctic pack ice where they hunt for fish and crustaceans in the open water of polynyas and leads on the Arctic Ocean. This migration pattern is not well understood.