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GALLERIES > BIRDS > CHARADRIIFORMES > LARIDAE > BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE [Rissa tridactyla]


Black-legged Kittiwake Image @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Saint Paul, Pribilof Islands, AK
GPS: 57.1N, -170.3W, elev=28' MAP
Date: June 1, 2012
ID : B13K7954 [4896 x 3264]

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Black-legged Kittiwake Image @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Saint Paul, Pribilof Islands, AK
GPS: 57.1N, -170.3W, elev=28' MAP
Date: June 1, 2012
ID : B13K7963 [4896 x 3264]

bird photography

Black-legged Kittiwake Image @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Resurrection Bay, Kenai Fjords National Park, AK
GPS: 59.9N, -149.5W, depth=-824' MAP
Date: May 29, 2012
ID : B13K7797 [4896 x 3264]

nature photography

Black-legged Kittiwake Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Resurrection Bay, Kenai Fjords National Park, AK
GPS: 59.9N, -149.5W, depth=-824' MAP
Date: May 29, 2012
ID : B13K7851 [4896 x 3264]

nature photography

Black-legged Kittiwake Photo @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Tijuana (Coronado Islands), Mexico
GPS: 32.5N, -117.4W, depth=-418' MAP
Date: April 4, 2009
ID : 7C2V6763 [3888 x 2592]

Black-legged Kittiwake (1st winter juvenile)
 
 
Location: Tijuana (Coronado Islands), Mexico
GPS: 32.4N, -117.2W, elev=0' MAP
Date: November 22, 2008
ID : 7C2V1825 [3888 x 2592]

bird photography

Black-legged Kittiwake Image @ Kiwifoto.com
 
 
Location: Provincetown (Cape Cod), MA
GPS: 42.1N, -70.2W, elev=27' MAP
Date: September 22, 2010
ID : 7C2V2995 [3888 x 2592]

nature photography

SPECIES INFO

The Black-legged Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla is a seabird species in the gull family Laridae.

This species was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema naturae in 1758 as Larus tridactylus.

In North America, this species is known as the Black-legged Kittiwake (or more colloquially in some areas as Tickleass or Tickleace) in order to differentiate it from the Red-legged Kittiwake, but in Europe, where it is the only member of the genus, it is often known just as Kittiwake.

Adults are roughly 40 cm (16 inches) in length with a wingspan of 90"?100 cm. They have a white head and body, grey back, grey wings tipped solid black, and have black legs and a yellow bill. Occasional individuals have pinky-grey to reddish legs, inviting easy confusion with Red-legged Kittiwake. In winter, they acquire a dark grey smudge behind the eye and a grey hind-neck collar. The name is derived from its call, a shrill 'kittee-wa-aaake, kitte-wa-aaake'.

It is a coastal breeding bird around the north Pacific and north Atlantic oceans, found most commonly in North America and Europe. It breeds in large colonies on cliffs and is very noisy on the breeding ground. Cliff nesting for gulls occurs only in the Rissa species. Kittiwakes are capable of utilizing the very sheerest of vertical cliffs, as is evident in their nesting sites on Staple Island in the outer Farne Islands (Hogan, 2005). One to two buff spotted eggs are laid in the nest lined with moss or seaweed. The downy young of Kittiwakes are white, since they have no need of camouflage from predators, and do not wander from the nest like Larus gulls for obvious safety reasons.

At fledging, the juveniles differ from the adults in having a black 'W' band across the length of the wings and whiter secondary and primary feathers behind the black 'W', a black hind-neck collar and a black terminal band on the tail. The old fishermans' name of "tarrock" for juvenile Kittiwakes is still occasionally used.

They are fish feeders, and are more pelagic than Larus gulls outside the breeding season. They do not scavenge at tips like some other gull species.

There are two races of Black-legged Kittiwake:

  • Rissa tridactyla tridactyla in the North Atlantic Ocean, which is unique among the Laridae in having only a very small or even no hind toe.
  • Rissa tridactyla pollicaris in the North Pacific Ocean, which (as the name pollex, thumb, suggests) has a normally developed hind toe.


Gallery

Black-legged Kittiwake

Colony of Black-legged Kittiwakes at Svalbard

Arctic Skua hunting Kittiwake at Svalbard

Kittiwakes at the Norwegian bird-island Runde

Kittiwakes at the Norwegian bird-island Runde





                                     




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black_legged_kittiwake's Range Map Click here to see the Black-legged Kittiwake's range map!
Listen to the Black-legged Kittiwake Song:



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