Posted 10th Jan 2018
Only turning up inland on odd occasions, the kittiwake is our most sea-loving gull
Spending winter out on the Atlantic, this medium-sized and gentle-looking gull is a truly elegant sight.
Nesting in colonies on cliff tops and rock ledges between February and August, there are currently under 380,000 pairs in Britain. Eating fish, shrimps and worms, it will not scavenge at landfill sites like other gulls.
A kittiwake is easy to identify at its nesting colonies on cliff faces, mainly due to its 'kittiwake' call. Silvery-grey above and white below, it has a white head and black wingtips. Young birds will have a black W across their wings and back, with a black neck-collar and a black band on their tail.
They can be found nesting on coastal cliffs, and will be seen around most of our coasts of our coasts during their migrations.
The kittiwake population is declining, in part due to the decline of sandeels which they prey upon. The Wildlife Trusts are now working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas' where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently become a missive boost following the passing of the Marine Bill, which promises sustainable development of the UK's marine environment.
Image courtesy of northeastwildlife.co.uk