Home Birds Home

Kittiwake Bird

Identification of Kittiwake Bird

Kittiwake Bird 1 Length: 38-40cm Wingspan: 95-120cm Call: "kitti-wake"

Kittiwake Bird is a slightly built and graceful gull, with a gentle expression and buoyant flight. The rounded head of Kittiwake bird is entirely white, the bill yellowish, and the short legs are black. The back and rather long slender wings are mid-grey, with paler flight feathers and distinctive 'dipped-in-ink' black wingtips. It flies with quick wingbeats and is well suited to coping with the marine environment. The immatures have a bold black 'W' across the upperwing and a black terminal band to the tail.

Habitat of Kittiwake Bird

Kittiwake bird is a seabird strongly tied to maritime habitats, it nests in large colonies on stormy exposed coasts, on high sea cliffs and islands, and when in mixed cliff colonies it generally occupies the lower-level sites. Particularly around the North Sea they will nest on low cliffs, windowsills and ledges of warehouses, piers and other buildings close to human activities, such as in ports and harbours. After breeding they disperse to the sea, most wintering in the Atlantic off Africa, and usually stay far from land, although storm-driven birds may appear on inland water bodies.

Song / call of Kittiwake Bird

Kittiwake Bird 2

Kittiwake bird is mostly silent (or out of earshot), except on their breeding grounds, when they call noisily with the sound that gives them their name, the shrill and often-repeated "kitti-wake". Of course, variations do occur, but the call is perhaps better written as "i'i'ee-weeer i'i'ee-weeer" or "i'whicky-weeehk! i'whicky-weeehk! i'whicky-weeehk!", a sound that fills the air at a colony when many birds are calling together. They also give sharp "ik-ik-ik-IK'IK" calls, and in flight a slurred cawing "l-wake" or "ee'yick" call, or a short nasal "kya!". Other described calls are a gruff "vek-vek-vek", a short knocking "kt'kt'kt" in alarm, and a soft wailing "oh", given once per second as a predator-anxiety call.