Ross's gull (Rhodostethia rosea)

The Ross’s gull is a small gull. The species has its most important breeding areas in north-eastern Siberia and in southerly parts of the Taymyr Peninsula. Some nests have also been found on Greenland and in arctic Canada. In Svalbard, a report from 1955 suggests that the species may have been nesting on Kapp Linné, at the mouth of Isfjorden, that year. Otherwise there are only a few observations in Svalbard.

Ross’s gull (Rhodostethia rosea)

Ross’s gull (Rhodostethia rosea). Photo: John and Pamela Breitsch / Creative Commons

The Ross’s gull is a small gull, smaller than a kittiwake, with a tern-like flight. It has relatively long wings and a characteristic wedge-shaped tail. The summer plumage of adult birds is a light pearl-grey on the upper-parts, while the head, neck, tail and belly are white with a discernable pink tinge. It has a narrow black band around the neck that is broadest at the nape of the neck. 

Distribution

The species has its most important breeding areas in north-eastern Siberia and in southerly parts of the Taymyr Peninsula. Some nests have also been found on Greenland and in arctic Canada. The pattern of migration outside the nesting season is not well known, but most birds leave the nesting areas in the latter half of July and migrate to ice-filled areas in the Arctic Ocean. In Svalbard, a report from 1955 suggests that the species may have been nesting on Kapp Linné, at the mouth of Isfjorden, that year. Otherwise there are only a few observations in Svalbard. Ross’s gulls may be seen at sea in July to September in the Greenland Sea, and in the waters north of Svalbard and eastwards towards Franz Josef Land. This species probably occurs annually in these areas.

MOSJ indicators (Environmental Monitoring of Svalbard and Jan Mayen):

Awaiting results from MOSJ…

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