A kittiwake in flight


The black-legged kittiwake is very widespread, being found in coastal regions throughout the northern hemisphere. Unlike other gulls, it rarely comes far inland, and it does not feed at landfill sites. Kittiwakes nest on cliffs, even when the rock appears to be perilously smooth. Males lay claim to a nest site and return there year after year.

See a summer’s seabird ‘city’ spectacular.

Scientific name: Rissa tridactyla

Rank: Species

Common names:

Black-legged kittiwake

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Map showing the distribution of the Kittiwake taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Kittiwake can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Arctic, Asia, China, Europe, North America, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Kittiwake distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1