Black-legged kittiwake fact sheet

Black-legged kittiwake

Rissatridactyla | Black-legged kittiwake

The black-legged kittiwake is a small gull that is very light on the wing. The name of this bird comes from the scientific name “tridactyla (meaning three-toed) because the hind toe is reduced to a tiny bump giving the appearance of 3 toes instead of 4. The adults have pearly-grey wings and white under parts. The edge  of their wings are black, the legs are also black and the beak is yellow. The juveniles have black patches on their wings and back of the neck and have a black beak and black M-shaped pattern on the top of their wings. The Black-legged kittiwake has a wide distribution in throughout the northern hemisphere. During the summer they breed in northern regions and in the winter they travel south.

At this time (October to April) they  frequently seen in the Azores. Mostly young birds with the black markings are sighted here. This species is classified as an “uncommon vagrant” in the Azores.

Length: 37 – 41 cm

Weight: 305 – 525 g

Wingspan: 91 – 105 cm

Population: 17,000,000 – 18,000,000

Longevity: 20 years

Diet: Marine invertebrates (e.g. squid and shrimp) and fish

Eggs: 1 – 3

Incubation: 25 days

Nesting sites: Cliffs

Fledging: 34 – 58 days

In other languages
Portuguese: Gaivota tridáctila
Spanish: Gaviota tridáctila
French: Mouette tridactyle
Italian: Gabbiano tridattilo
German: Dreizehenmöwe
Dutch: Drieteenmeeuw
Swedish: Tretåig mås
Norwegian: Krykkje
Danish: Ride
Finnish: Pikkukajava

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