Thursday, August 12, 2010

Birds of St Paul: Kittiwakes

St Paul is home to both species of Kittiwake (a medium sized white gull with pale grey back and wings); Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) and the Red-legged Kittiwake (Rissa brevirostris).

Kittiwake Stats (Whatbird and Cornell Bird Lab):
  • Length Range: 41-43 cm (16-17 in)
  • Weight: 422 g (14.9 oz)
  • Wingspan: 94 cm (37 in)
  • Size: Large (16 - 32 in)
  • Color Primary: White, Gray
  • Underparts: White
  • Upperparts: Pale Gray
  • Back Pattern: Solid
  • Belly Pattern: Solid
  • Breast Pattern: Solid
The Black-legged kittiwake is the only gull that will actually dive and swim underwater to capture prey though mostly I saw them dive bombing puffin and murre in an attempt to relieve them of their fish.

Their name is derived from their call, a shrill 'kittee-wa-aaake, kitte-wa-aaake' though my friend Kathy and I agree it sounds more like a plea not to be eaten: "Kitty Wait"!!


Quantum Tiger said...

Nice kittiwake poses. Love the head under wing portrait

Rebecca Jackrel said...

Thanks Ian! The sea had a lovely blue color that day. I'm glad the kittiwake gave me the opportunity to take advantage of it.