Ross’s Gull

Rhodostethia rosea

Visiting birders would be lucky indeed to spot one of these attractive Arctic gulls. There are roughly twelve records of this species around Saint Paul, although if one was visiting in winter the species might prove more common. Most records are in early spring or summer and involve adult birds, flushed with pink. This very small gull (similar to the size of Bonaparte’s Gull) possesses a white wedge shaped tail and white trailing edge to the flight feathers that is broadest where the primaries and secondaries meet. Adults will typically be pinkish below and have a thin black collar across the throat and nape. First-year birds show a black tip to the wedge shaped tail, dark spot behind the eye and a black W pattern on the upperparts in flight. Often this species is seen in flight only, during seawatches along the coast, but occasionally a Ross’s Gull will come in to the Salt Lagoon and linger for a few days.