Background

The Kittiwake is a medium sized species of gull that presents a brilliant white colour. The wings can appear grey and are tipped with a black at the wings. The legs are also relatively small and a distinctive black.

Habitat

They are found across the northern hemisphere on the coasts during the summer, however move outwards to the ocean in the winter. Some do remain at the coastline however this is far less common.

Diet

This species is commonly found hunting in flocks during the day, feeding on invertebrates and fish.

Predators & Threats

Due to the position of their nesting sites, on the side of cliffs, black-legged Kittiwakes have few natural predators. During the winter when they are out at sea however, they can be fed on by sharks and whales. The main problem that faces this species is human impacts on their environment. Overfishing has led to food shortages, and pollutants both chemical and plastic based have caused significant declines in some areas.

Facts

  • It is thought to be the only gull that both dives and swims in water.
  • Black legged Kittiwakes are the most common gull species in the world with a global population of 18,000,000.

 

Common Name(s)Scientific Name
Kittiwake, Black legged Kittiwake.Rissa tridactyla
Size
 ~40 cm
Lifespan
 Approximately 25 years

Best Time to Look

April – September

Where to find Kittiwake