Black-legged Kittiwake

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Scientific Information

Black-legged Kittiwake in flight
The Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) is a common migrant and breeder that is found in Summer at most of the mainland and island coastal cliffs of the Seward Peninsula. There were some 20,000 kittiwakes on Little Diomede Island in the late 1980’s. Although they usually nest on cliff ledges, they have been known to nest on man made structures. It has even been known to nest on shipwrecks. They obtain their food from the sea surface, which consists primarily of small fishes. Number of eggs lain in a nest is greatly determined by the amount of the small fishes they find for food. Their hind toe is reduced to a tiny bump giving the bird its scientific name of tridactyla (three-toed).

Community Information




Spoken Name

Relevant Site Information

Black-legged Kittiwakes show up here around the end of May when the sea ice is beginning to break up and there is access to water. Adults can be seen flying along the coast searching for food. Some ornithologists believe that the individuals that come here are probably non-breeding individuals.

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