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Red-legged Kittiwake Rissa brevirostris

IUCN Red List Criteria

Critically Endangered  
Endangered  
Vulnerable  

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2013 Vulnerable
2012 Vulnerable
2010 Vulnerable
2008 Vulnerable
2006 Vulnerable
2004 Vulnerable
2000 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type shelf island
Average mass 377 g

Distribution

  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 192,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 12,200,000 medium
Area of Occupancy breeding/resident (km2) 1,740 medium
Number of locations 12 -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals medium Estimated 0
Population trend Decreasing good -
Number of subpopulations 2-100 - - -
Largest subpopulation 1001-10000 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 12.9 - - -
Population justification: There are an estimated 160,000-180,000 breeding adults in Alaska (Kushlan et al. 2002) and 17,000 pairs in the Commander Islands, Russia, (del Hoyo et al. 1996), which gives a global population estimate of 337,000-377,000 mature individuals, and the population is therefore best placed in the band 100,000-499,999 individuals. Brazil (2009) has estimated the population in Russia at c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration.
Trend justification: From the mid-1970s to mid-1990s, the known population declined by c.35%. Most of this decline was on the Pribilofs: a precipitous c.44% in breeding numbers on St George, where over 80% of the 1970s population bred. The small population on St Paul declined by 55% over the same period, and continues to decline (H. Renner in litt. 2012). The population on St George has apparently stabilised at c.123,000 birds (Dragoo et al. 2000, Dragoo et al. 2001) and has recovered to numbers similar to the 1970s (H. Renner in litt. 2012). The second largest colony on Bering Island contained 12% of the population in the mid-1970s but the decline on the Pribilofs had increased this to 18% by the mid-1990s. There is some evidence of a slight decline on the Commander Islands, but no counts are available prior to the late 1980s and it is unclear whether this is a trend or just interannual fluctuations. No other colony holds more than 2% of the population, but the number of nests had increased threefold on the Bogoslof Islands and twofold on Buldir Island by the mid-1990s (Byrd et al. 1997). The population at Buldir appears to be stable (H. Renner in litt. 2012). Therefore, although there are recent signs of increases, and the overall population may have stablised, it is still estimated to have declined at 30-49% over 44 years (three generations).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Canada Native Extant   Yes    
Japan Vagrant Extant        
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes      
USA Native Extant Yes      

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Russia (Asian) Commander islands site factsheet
USA Bering Sea Shelf Edge 168W56N site factsheet
USA Buldir Island Colony site factsheet
USA St George Island Colony site factsheet
USA St George Island Marine site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major 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
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources / Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 7
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Reduced reproductive success
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals / Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Climate change & severe weather Temperature extremes Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Rapid Declines High Impact: 8
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Unspecified rats (Rattus spp.) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality

Utilisation

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Rissa brevirostris. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/09/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/09/2014.

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 Vulnerable
Family Laridae (Gulls, Terns, Skimmers)
Species name author (Bruch, 1853)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 192,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species