Kittiwakes - Hebridean Birds

Western Isles Birds - Kittiwakes - lovely gentle birds - although on face value - these birds look like gulls, they are an altogether more gentle bird than the gulls. They spend no time harassing other birds (as the gulls do)

Kittiwakes are pure white with a grey mantle - have uniform black wing tips. It's legs are short and black. In flight the black wing-tips show no white, unlike other gulls. Its black feet have only three toes.
Hooded Crow -  Western Isles Bird Sightings
Bird Overview - Kittiwakes
Family
Gulls
Latin name
Rissa tridactyla

 Population
Common


Similar Species
Common Gull
Black Headed Gull
Description
These lovely birds, the kittiwakes seen in The Western Isles - pure white with a grey mantle - have uniform black wing tips. t's legs are short and black.

In flight the black wing-tips show no white, unlike other gulls. Its black feet have only three toes.

The sexes look very similar. The young birds do however look somewhat different - one year old birds can look very dull and faded with wing patterns bleached and worn away and instead of black legs - these juveniles have brown legs. Some near adults have grey necks and black marks on the bill in spring.

Size
41cm - Weight - 440g
Habitat
Sea and Cliffs. Unlike other birds this elegant seagull with its yellow bill and solid black wing tips comes to land only to breed.

In the breeding season these birds can be seen at seabird colonies around Scotland and the UK. In late summer and autumn kittiwakes can be seen flying past offshore, or collecting at roosts. Kittiwakes spend the winter months at sea.


Food
Fish, Invertebrates, crustaceans, shrimps, worms.At sea - they dip down to the surface in flight - or make plunges of up to a metre or so down.

Voice
The name kittiwake actually comes somewhat from their call as when in breeding colonies, they seem to be uttering their name incessantly in an ear splitting manner, the sounds rebounding off the cliffs.

Breeding
These birds breed May - July, have 2 - 3 eggs, Incubation is 24 -28 days and the young fledge at 5-8weeks, they nest on narrow cliff edges.

The nests are remarkable, being made of mud, seaweed and grass. the nests are well constructed and much more sturdy than other gulls nests. Perhaps this is because they are placed on very precipitous sea cliffs, often on tiny projections of rock which actually look very precarious.

These nests of course are all the more safe from predators. The young birds stay on the ledge - they don't wander around at all. Having once left the nests, the kittiwakes venture right out to sea - sometimes hundreds of miles

Misc. Info
Kittiwakes often accompany whales and other sea mammals on their travels around the Northern Hemisphere.

Click the Pictures Below for Larger Photos
©2014 Virtual Hebrides
Website Design and Hosting by Western Isles Web Services Ltd, Isle of Lewis Western Isles - Outer Hebrides
This image can be purchased for £5.
If 3 or more images are purchased the price will be reduced to £4 per image. Eg. 3 images would cost only £12, a saving of £3. We place no restriction on the use of images purchased, they can be used on websites or printed media without further cost.

Once you have purchased your image(s) you will be sent an email with a link to where you can download the image(s). Your image(s) will be available for download for up 3 month after the date of purchase

  

   Image Size:

  Pixels Inches Centimetres
  Width
  Height
  Inches and cm sizes are approximate