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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
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
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
Dominica Vagrant Extant      
Dominican Republic Vagrant Extant      
Egypt Vagrant Extant      
Estonia Vagrant Extant      
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Native Extant      
France Native Extant     Yes
Gambia Vagrant Extant      
Germany Native Extant     Yes
Gibraltar (to UK) Native Extant   Yes  
Greece Native Extant   Yes  
Greenland (to Denmark) Native Extant      
Guadeloupe (to France) Vagrant Extant      
Guinea Unknown Extant      
Guinea-Bissau Unknown Extant      
Haiti Vagrant Extant      
Hungary Vagrant Extant      
Iceland Native Extant      
Iran, Islamic Republic of Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Ireland Native Extant      
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      
North Korea Native Extant      
Norway Native Extant Yes    
Oman Vagrant Extant     Yes
Peru Vagrant Extant      
Poland Native Extant   Yes  
Portugal Native Extant      
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      
St Kitts and Nevis Vagrant Extant      
St Lucia Vagrant Extant      
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) Native Extant      
St Vincent and the Grenadines Vagrant Extant      
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Native Extant Yes    
Sweden Native Extant      
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      
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 Makkaurhalvøya (Syltefjordstauran) site factsheet
Norway Omgangsstauran site factsheet
Norway Runde site factsheet
Norway Sværholtklubben site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Aniva bay site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Bogoslova island site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Dobrzhanskogo and Temchun 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) 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 Little Diomede Island and Fairway Rock site factsheet
USA Tuxedni Bay site factsheet
USA Walrus Islands 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 (2014) Species factsheet: Rissa tridactyla. Downloaded from on 17/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 17/04/2014.

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 and terns)
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