Ross’s Gull

photo by Phil Swanson

Rhodostethia rosea
L 13 1/2″ (34 cm) W 33″ (84 cm).

Song or calls:
High pitched “a-wo, a-wo, a-wo; claw-claw-claw,” and in alarm “via, via, via.”

Description: Sexes similar. Breeding adults are variably pale pink to bright pink below and pale gray above; short black bill; red-orange legs; and distinctive black collar. Winter adults lack pink coloring and collar is partial or absent. First winter bird is pale gray above and white below with brown on wings; black-tipped tail; dark spot behind eye; and paler legs.

Habitat: Usually found in arctic waters.

Where in Nebraska: Accidental. Seen at Sutherland Reservoir, Lincoln County in 1992.

Status: An Old World species that has recently bred in northern Canada and Greenland.

Fun Facts: The Ross’s Gull is named for the North Pole explorer James Clark Ross. Their pink coloration is diet dependent.