Ross's Gull
(Rhodostethia rosea)


Picture of bird
© Mark Mallory
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Ross's Gull breeds primarily in eastern Siberia, but several pairs breed annually at known sites in northern Canada. In fact, the total population is probably somewhat larger than previously thought because most sites are very remote. Because of its rarity and its remote breeding range, monitoring information is poor. However, the best available information (from occasional surveys) suggests that the population in Canada has shown little change since about 1970. Still, an extremely small breeding population and a localized wintering population places the species at risk of extirpation, so it was designated as Special Concern in 1981 by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Its status was then re-assessed as Threatened in 2001, which was re-confirmed in 2007 (COSEWIC 2007g). Enhanced monitoring information is perhaps the most critical management need for this poorly studied species. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
COSEWIC (Canada)Threatened2007 
SARA (Canada)Threatened2003 
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2012 
Wild Species (Canada)At Risk2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaLittle ChangeLow

Population estimate

Canada< 100 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population

CanadaVery Low

Conservation and management

There are currently no known factors adversely affecting Ross's Gulls in Canada (Environment Canada 2007a), but the species' small population size places it at risk. Defining and protecting critical habitat, identifying other currently unknown breeding locations (e.g., Foxe Basin, western Hudson Bay coastline, High Arctic islands), as well as developing and implementing a rigorous monitoring program are considered priorities for management of this Species at Risk (Environment Canada 2007a). Gaining a better understanding of the non-breeding distribution for Ross's Gull is also a priority in order to develop conservation plans (e.g., see Maftei et al. 2014). For information on the legal status of this species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and to view the Recovery Strategy, see the SARA Registry.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Arctic Plains and MountainsArctic Plains and Mountains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern Region
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern Region