Black-Legged Kittiwake

Photo by Bob Gress


Common Name: Black-legged Kittiwake

Scientific Name: Rissa tridactyla


Comments: A Holarctic breeder, Blacklegged Kittiwakes nest on narrow ledges on sea cliffs and winter offshore along coastal areas. They feed on small fish and occasionally insects and other invertebrates. Breeding birds have gray upper parts, black legs, yellow bills and pure black wing tips. Winter adults have a dark ear spot. Immatures have a black patterned “M” that stretches from wing to wing and a black tail band. They are present in the Great Plains during migration and occasionally in winter months.
Black-legged Kittiwakes occur in small numbers or are found only in localized sites within the Great Plains.