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Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Least Concern
2010 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type   Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 1,080,000
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 1,080,000
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Decreasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 12.9 - - -
Population justification: The global population is estimated to number c.17,000,000-18,000,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population sizes have been estimated at c.50-10,000 wintering individuals in Korea and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
Trend justification: The population trend is decreasing in North America (based on BBS/CBC data: Butcher and Niven 2007), although populations are stable elsewhere (Wetlands International 2007).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Afghanistan Unknown Extant        
Algeria Native Extant        
Antigua and Barbuda Vagrant Extant        
Austria Native Extant     Yes  
Bahamas Native Extant        
Barbados Vagrant Extant        
Belarus Vagrant Extant        
Belgium Native Extant        
Belize Vagrant Extant        
Bulgaria Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Canada Native Extant     Yes Yes
Cape Verde Native Extant        
Cayman Islands (to UK) Vagrant Extant        
China (mainland) Native Extant        
Côte d'Ivoire Unknown Extant        
Croatia Vagrant Extant        
Cuba Vagrant Extant        
Cyprus Vagrant Extant        
Czech Republic Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Denmark Native Extant     Yes Yes
Dominica Vagrant Extant        
Dominican Republic Vagrant Extant        
Egypt Vagrant Extant        
Estonia Vagrant Extant        
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Native Extant       Yes
France Native Extant     Yes Yes
Gambia Vagrant Extant        
Germany Native Extant     Yes Yes
Gibraltar (to UK) Native Extant   Yes    
Greece Native Extant   Yes    
Greenland (to Denmark) Native Extant       Yes
Guadeloupe (to France) Vagrant Extant        
Guinea Unknown Extant        
Guinea-Bissau Unknown Extant        
Haiti Vagrant Extant        
Hungary Vagrant Extant        
Iceland Native Extant       Yes
Iran, Islamic Republic of Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Ireland Native Extant       Yes
Israel Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Italy Native Extant   Yes    
Jamaica Vagrant Extant        
Japan Native Extant        
Jordan Vagrant Extant        
Kazakhstan Vagrant Extant        
Kyrgyzstan Vagrant Extant        
Latvia Vagrant Extant        
Lebanon Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Liberia Unknown Extant        
Lithuania Native Extant   Yes    
Luxembourg Vagrant Extant        
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Vagrant Extant        
Malta Vagrant Extant        
Martinique (to France) Vagrant Extant        
Mauritania Native Extant        
Mexico Native Extant        
Monaco Unknown Extant        
Mongolia Vagrant Extant        
Montenegro Vagrant Extant        
Montserrat (to UK) Vagrant Extant        
Morocco Native Extant        
Netherlands Native Extant       Yes
North Korea Native Extant        
Norway Native Extant Yes      
Oman Vagrant Extant     Yes  
Peru Vagrant Extant        
Poland Native Extant   Yes    
Portugal Native Extant       Yes
Puerto Rico (to USA) Vagrant Extant     Yes  
Romania Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Russia (Central Asian) Vagrant Extant        
Russia (European) Native Extant Yes      
Senegal Vagrant Extant        
Serbia Vagrant Extant        
Sierra Leone Unknown Extant        
Slovakia Native Extant   Yes    
Slovenia Native Extant   Yes    
South Africa Vagrant Extant        
South Korea Native Extant        
Spain Native Extant       Yes
St Kitts and Nevis Vagrant Extant        
St Lucia Vagrant Extant        
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) Native Extant       Yes
St Vincent and the Grenadines Vagrant Extant        
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Native Extant Yes      
Sweden Native Extant       Yes
Switzerland Native Extant        
Syria Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Trinidad and Tobago Vagrant Extant        
Tunisia Native Extant        
Turkey Native Extant   Yes    
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Vagrant Extant        
Ukraine Vagrant Extant        
United Arab Emirates Vagrant Extant   Yes    
United Kingdom Native Extant       Yes
USA Native Extant Yes      
Uzbekistan Vagrant Extant        
Virgin Islands (to UK) Vagrant Extant        
Virgin Islands (to USA) Vagrant Extant        
Western Sahara Native Extant        

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Canada Falaise aux Goélands and pointe de l’Est site factsheet
Denmark Lille Middelgrund site factsheet
Iceland Breidafjördur site factsheet
Iceland Grímsey site factsheet
Iceland Hælavíkurbjarg site factsheet
Iceland Krísuvíkurberg site factsheet
Iceland Látrabjarg site factsheet
Iceland Riturinn site factsheet
Iceland Skoruvik-Skalabjarg site factsheet
Iceland Vestmannaeyjar site factsheet
Norway Hjelmsøy site factsheet
Norway Omgangsstauran site factsheet
Norway Runde site factsheet
Norway Sværholtklubben site factsheet
Norway Syltefjordstauran site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Aniva bay site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Bogoslova island site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Dobrzhanskogo and Temchun islands site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Impoveem bay and Khalpili islands site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Iony island site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Karaginskiy island site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Krasnyy cape site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Kunashir island site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Kuril islands (between Urup and Paramushir) site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Nevskoye lake site factsheet
Russia (Asian) North-east Sakhalin lagoons site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Odyan bay site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Oria cape site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Preobrazheniya island site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Rovnyy Island site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Stolbovoy island site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Tyuleniy island site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Vasiliya islands site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Verkhoturova island site factsheet
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Bjørnøya (Bear Island) site factsheet
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Hopen island site factsheet
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) South Spitsbergen National Park site factsheet
Sweden Little Middelgrund site factsheet
United Kingdom Caithness Cliffs site factsheet
United Kingdom Flamborough Head and Bempton Cliffs site factsheet
USA Barrow Canyon & Smith Bay site factsheet
USA Buldir & Near Islands Marine site factsheet
USA Buldir Island Colony site factsheet
USA Cape Peirce & Cape Newenham Colonies site factsheet
USA Castle Rock Colonies site factsheet
USA Diomede Islands Colonies site factsheet
USA Lisburne Peninsula Marine site factsheet
USA Pinnacle Island Colony site factsheet
USA Prince William Sound site factsheet
USA Round Island Colony site factsheet
USA Southwest Cape Colonies site factsheet
USA St George Island Colony site factsheet
USA St George Island Marine site factsheet
USA St Matthew & Hall Islands Colonies site factsheet
USA Tuxedni Bay site factsheet
USA Unimak & Akutan Passes site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands major breeding
Marine Intertidal Rocky Shoreline marginal breeding
Marine Intertidal Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc marginal breeding
Marine Intertidal Tidepools marginal breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) suitable breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) suitable non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) suitable breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) suitable non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food (human) Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Rissa tridactyla. Downloaded from on 04/05/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 04/05/2015.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Laridae (Gulls, Terns, Skimmers)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,080,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species