Red-legged Kittiwake

Rissa brevirostris




Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Gray, green or pink buff with olive or brown marks

Number of Eggs:

1 - 3

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On a rock ledge.

Nest Material:

Grasses and mud.





Red-legged Kittiwake: Small Alaskan gull with small yellow bill and bright red legs. Wingtips all black. Sexes similar. Juvenile has black bill, dull pink legs, a black spot behind the eye, and a black half collar.

Range and Habitat

Red-legged Kittiwake: Breeds on islands off Alaska, Pribilof, Bogoslof and Buldir Islands, and on the Commander Islands, Russia. The total population was about 259,000 individuals in the 1970s, but had fallen to 168,000 by 1990. Decline occurred on the Pribilofs, slight decline on the Commander Islands. Population has stabilized recently. Found on the open ocean, and breeds on vertical sea cliffs.

Breeding and Nesting

Red-legged Kittiwake: Nests in colonies on the tiny ledges of sheer sea cliffs on a few islands in the Aleutian Chain of Alaska. Both sexes bring mud and grass to make small simple platform. Lays one to three gray, green, or pink buff eggs marked with olive or brown. Both sexes incubate for around 30 days. Chicks fledge when 37 days old.

Foraging and Feeding

Red-legged Kittiwake: Feeds on small fish and invertebrates that are captured at or near the water's surface over the open ocean. Picks food from surface and makes shallow dives.


Red-legged Kittiwake: Fairly high-pitched "kittiwake" call.

Similar Species

Red-legged Kittiwake: Black-legged Kittiwake has paler underwings and black legs.

Similar to the upper part of the human neck, located at the back of the crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X