Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - A2abd+3bd+4abd

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Vulnerable A2abd+3bd+4abd
2017 Vulnerable A2abd+3bd+4abd
2016 Least Concern
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) 64,100,000
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 153,000,000
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor estimated 2009
Population trend Decreasing estimated -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 30-49 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 30-49 - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 12.9 - - -

Population justification: The global population is estimated to number c. 14,600,000-15,700,000 (Wetlands International 2016). The European population is estimated at 1,730,000-2,200,000 pairs, which equates to 3,460,000-4,410,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend justification: Data collated from across Europe for the European Red List of Birds (BirdLife International 2015) indicate that the species has declined significantly in recent years, and that this decline is ongoing. A combination of official data reported by 27 EU Member States to the European Commission under Article 12 of the EU Birds Directive and comparable data from other European countries, provided by BirdLife Partners and other leading national ornithologists, suggests that the European population has declined markedly since the 1980s, and is currently estimated and projected to be declining overall at a rate of >40% over three generations (39 years). This corresponds well with the significant long-term decline reported by Berglund and Hentati-Sundberg (2014). Based on the latest population estimates (Coulson 2011, Wetlands International 2012), Europe (including Greenland) holds >50% of the global population. The small Canadian Arctic population is increasing by 1% per year (Mallory et al. 2009, Gaston et al. 2012), but as in Europe, the species’s breeding productivity in Alaska has declined since the 1980s, and numbers have decreased sharply in some colonies, possibly as a result of a regime shift in the North Pacific (Hatch 2013). At the regional scale of North America, which includes the populations breeding in the Northwestern Atlantic (c. 5% of the global population) and in the Northeastern Pacific (c. 15% of the global population), the species has recently been assessed as either stable or having undergone only a small decline (<15%) (North American Bird Conservation Initiative 2016). A recent analysis appears to show that the population in the North Pacific declined rapidly in the 1990s but has since recovered (Descamps et al. 2017). Global trends presented in the paper, however, appear to show that since 1975 the population size has declined by c.40%, which would place the global decline in the range of 30-49% over three generations (39 years).

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

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Greenland (to Denmark) Apparsuit (Kap Shackleton) and Kippaku
Greenland (to Denmark) Appat, Ritenbenk
Greenland (to Denmark) Kitsissut Avalliit (Ydre Kitsissut)
Greenland (to Denmark) Kap Brewster and Volquart Boon's coast
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Suduroy
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Lítla Dímun
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Stóra Dímun
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Skúvoy
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Sandoy
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Hestur
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Nólsoy
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Svínoy
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Fugloy
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Vidoy
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Kalsoy
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Eysturoy
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Streymoy
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Vágar
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Mykines and Mykineshólmur
Portugal Berlenga and Farilhões islands
Iceland Skrudur
Iceland Skoruvik-Skalabjarg
Iceland Grimsey ut af Eyjafirdi
Iceland Ritur
Iceland Hælavikurbjarg
Iceland Latrabjarg
Iceland Breidafjördur
Iceland Krysuvikurberg
Iceland Vestmannaeyjar
Ireland Rockabill
Ireland Lambay Island
Ireland Saltee Islands
Ireland Bull and Cow Rocks
Ireland The Skelligs: Great Skellig and Little Skellig
Ireland Blasket Islands
Ireland Cliffs of Moher
Ireland Clare Island cliffs
Ireland Aughris Head
Ireland Tory Island
Ireland Horn Head cliffs
Ireland Loop Head
Ireland Helvick Head
Ireland Old Head of Kinsale
Ireland Howth Head
Greece Nestos delta and coastal lagoons
Finland Hanko western archipelago
Russia (European) Gavrilovski archipelago
Russia (European) Bezymyannaya and Gribovaya Bays and adjoining waters
Russia (European) Seven islands
Spain Costa da Morte
France Cap Gris-nez
France Falaise du Bessin
France Archipel des Sept-Iles
France Cap Sizun
France Baies de Morlaix et de Carantec
France Ile d'Ouessant
France Cap Frehel
France Presqu'île de Crozon, Tas de Pois et Rochers du Toulinguet
France Estuaire de la Bidassoa et Baie de Fontarabie
France Littoral Augeron
Iceland Melrakkasletta
United Kingdom Ailsa Craig
United Kingdom Buchan Ness to Collieston Coast
United Kingdom Caithness Cliffs
United Kingdom Cape Wrath
United Kingdom Copinsay
United Kingdom Coquet Island
United Kingdom Calf of Eday
United Kingdom Fair Isle
United Kingdom Farne Islands
United Kingdom Fetlar
United Kingdom Flamborough Head and Bempton Cliffs
United Kingdom Flannan Isles
United Kingdom Firth of Forth Islands
United Kingdom Foula
United Kingdom Fowlsheugh
United Kingdom Glannau Aberdaron and Ynys Enlli
United Kingdom Grassholm
United Kingdom Handa
United Kingdom Hermaness, Saxa Vord and Valla Field
United Kingdom Hoy
United Kingdom Isles of Scilly
United Kingdom Marwick Head
United Kingdom Mersey Estuary
United Kingdom Mingulay and Berneray
United Kingdom Mousa
United Kingdom North Colonsay and Western Cliffs
United Kingdom North Rona and Sula Sgeir
United Kingdom Noss
United Kingdom Papa Stour
United Kingdom Papa Westray (North Hill and Holm)
United Kingdom Pembrokeshire Cliffs
United Kingdom Pentland Firth Islands
United Kingdom Priest Island
United Kingdom Ramna Stacks and Gruney
United Kingdom Rathlin Island
United Kingdom Rum
United Kingdom Sanda Island
United Kingdom Sheep Island
United Kingdom Shiant Isles
United Kingdom Skokholm and Skomer
United Kingdom South-eastern Stronsay
United Kingdom St Abbs Head to Fast Castle
United Kingdom St Kilda
United Kingdom Sule Skerry and Sule Stack
United Kingdom Sumburgh Head
United Kingdom Tiree and Coll
United Kingdom Traeth Lafan, Conwy Bay
United Kingdom Treshnish Isles
United Kingdom Troup, Pennan and Lion Heads
United Kingdom West Westray
United Kingdom Auskerry
United Kingdom Canna and Sanday
United Kingdom Eilean nan Ron
United Kingdom North Westray Coast
United Kingdom Rothiesholm Peninsula, Stronsay
United Kingdom Scapa Flow
United Kingdom South Walls and Switha
United Kingdom Tolsta Head, Lewis
United Kingdom Calf of Man
United Kingdom Isle of Man Sea Cliffs
Greenland (to Denmark) Sermilinnguaq
Greenland (to Denmark) Appatsiaat
Denmark Northern Kattegat
Greenland (to Denmark) Taateraat in Evighedsfjorden
Greenland (to Denmark) Søndre Isortoq
Greenland (to Denmark) Appat Appai
Greenland (to Denmark) Parker Snow Bay
Greenland (to Denmark) Hakluyt island
Norway Runde
Norway Røst
Norway Værøy
Norway Nykvåg
Norway Anda
Norway Bleiksøy
Norway Loppa
Norway Hjelmsøy
Norway Gjesværstappan
Norway Sværholtklubben
Norway Omgangsstauran
Norway Kongsøy
Norway Syltefjordstauran
Norway Hornøy and Reinøy
Norway Sør-Fugløy
Norway Kjørholmane seabird reserve
Norway Sklinna
Norway Varangerfjord
Norway Inner Porsangerfjord
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Bjørnøya (Bear Island)
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Northwest Spitsbergen National Park
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Inner parts of Kongsfjorden
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Forlandet National Park
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) South Spitsbergen National Park
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Fuglefjella
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Alkhornet
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Hopen island
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Jan Mayen island
Greenland (to Denmark) Islands and waters south and west of Upernavik town
Germany Heligoland island
Germany Wagbach lowlands
Ireland Tormore Island
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Ingeborgfjellet
Sweden Little Middelgrund
Denmark Lille Middelgrund
Russia (European) Arkhangelskaya Bay
Russia (Asian) Karaginskiy Island
Russia (Asian) Verkhoturova Island
Russia (Asian) Cape Oria
Russia (Asian) Iony Island
Russia (Asian) Bogoslova Island
Russia (Asian) Aniva bay
Russia (Asian) Preobrazheniya island
Russia (Asian) Kuril islands (between Urup and Paramushir)
Russia (Asian) Tyuleniy Island
Russia (Asian) Lesser Kuril Ridge and Kunashir Island
Russia (Asian) Nevskoye Lake
Russia (Asian) North-east Sakhalin lagoons
Russia (Asian) Vasiliya islands
Russia (Asian) Cape Krasniy
Russia (Asian) Dobrzhanskogo and Temchun islands
Russia (Asian) Rovnyy Island
Russia (Asian) Stolbovoy island
France Rade de Brest: Baie de Daoulas et Anse du Poulmic
France Rade de Lorient
France Lac du Der-Chantecoq et étangs latéraux
France Brenne centrale
France Estuaire et embouchure de la Seine
France Etangs Narbonnais
France Anse du Fiers d'Ars en Ré
France Bonne Anse
France Estuaires picards : baies de Somme et d'Authie
France Traicts et marais salants de la Presqu'île Guérandaise
France Lac Léman (partie française)
France Cap Fagnet
Canada Checleset Bay
Canada Amphitrite and Swiftsure Banks
Canada Gannet Islands
Canada The Wolves Archipelago
Canada Quoddy Region
Canada Cape St. Mary's
Canada Witless Bay Islands
Canada Baccalieu Island
Canada Funk Island
Canada Northern Groais Island
Canada Grates Point
Canada Placentia Bay
Canada Corbin Island
Canada Bird Islands
Canada Northern Head and South Head
Canada The Capes
Canada Cape Hay
Canada Prince Leopold Island
Canada Cambridge Point
Canada Southwest Bylot
Canada Hantzsch Island
Canada Washington Point, Baillie-Hamilton Island
Canada Cape Graham Moore
Canada Reid Bay
Canada Bonaventure Island
Canada Île Shag
Canada Les rochers aux Oiseaux
Canada Île Brion
Canada Shigawake-Newport
Canada Cap d'Espoir
Canada Barachois de Malbaie
Canada Péninsule de Forillon
Canada Île Bicquette
Canada Île aux Basques et Les Razades
Canada Falaise aux Goélands and pointe de l’Est
Canada Îles Sainte-Marie
Canada Îles aux Perroquets
Canada Petite Île Sainte-Geneviève
Canada Betchouane
Canada Île Nue de Mingan
Canada La Grosse Boule Island
Canada Corossol Island
Canada Baie des Escoumins et Grandes-Bergeronnes
Canada Tadoussac
Canada Batture Batture aux Alouettes and mouth of Saguenay River
Canada McIntyre Beach and Rose Spit
Canada Brier Island and Offshore Waters
Iran, Islamic Republic of Bandar Kiashar lagoon and mouth of Sefid Rud
USA Tuxedni Bay
USA Cape Newenham
USA Unimak Pass, marine
USA Little Diomede Island and Fairway Rock
USA Walrus Islands
Denmark Jammerbugten
Puerto Rico (to USA) Caño Tiburones
Germany Lower Saxonian North Sea off the East Frisian Islands
Germany Eastern part of German Bight (with Heligoland)
Ireland Ireland's Eye
Ireland Wicklow Head
Russia (Asian) Stolbovoy island - Marine
Russia (Asian) Karaginskiy Bay - marine
Russia (Asian) Bogoslova island / Vasiliya islands - Marine
Russia (Asian) Rovnyy Island - Marine
Russia (Asian) Dobrzhanskogo and Temchun islands - Marine
Russia (Asian) Kuril islands (between Urup and Paramushir) - Marine
Japan Eastern Hokkaido - Marine
Russia (Asian) Nevskoye lake - Marine
Japan Northern Hokkaido - Marine
Russia (Asian) Tyuleniy island - Marine
Russia (Asian) Iony island - Marine
Russia (Asian) Preobrazheniya island - Marine
Russia (Asian) Aniva bay / Esashi, Menashidomari / Teurito island - Marine
Russia (Asian) North-east Sakhalin lagoons - Marine
Russia (Asian) Cape Krasniy - marine
Greenland (to Denmark) Søndre Isortoq - Marine
Greenland (to Denmark) Appat, Ritenbenk - Marine
Greenland (to Denmark) Islands and waters south and west of Upernavik town - Marine
USA Bering Sea Shelf Edge 166W55N
USA Barrow Canyon & Smith Bay
USA St Matthew and Hall Islands
USA Barren Islands
USA Cape Lisburne
USA Cape Peirce
USA Cape Thompson
USA St George Island
USA Buldir & Near Islands Marine
USA Chukchi Sea Nearshore
USA Icy Cape Marine
USA Ilnik Marine
USA Izembek Refuge Marine
USA Lisburne Peninsula Marine
USA Prince William Sound
USA St George Island Marine
USA Unimak & Akutan Passes
USA Barren Islands Colonies
USA Buldir Island Colony
USA Cape Peirce & Cape Newenham Colonies
USA Castle Rock Colonies
USA Diomede Islands Colonies
USA Hegemeister Island Colonies
USA Pinnacle Island Colony
USA Round Island Colony
USA Semidi Islands Colonies
USA Southwest Cape Colonies
USA Spitz Island Colony
USA St George Island Colony
USA St Matthew & Hall Islands Colonies
USA Tuxedni Island Colony
Iceland Drangey
Iceland Raudinupur
Iceland Ingolfshofdi
Iceland Papey
Iceland Myrdalur
Iceland Snaefellsnes
Iceland Eldey
Iceland Hornbjarg & Haelavikurbjarg
Russia (Asian) Khalpili Islands and Impoveyem Bay
Russia (Asian) Odyan bay
Norway Slettnes
Norway Varangerfjord (including Hornøya and Reinøya)
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Kvalhovden & Sjukovskifjella
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Northeast Svalbard Nature Reserve
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Midterhuken & Eholmen
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Southeast Svalbard Nature Reserve
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Nordre Isfjorden
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Sassen-Bünsow Land
Norway Lille Kamøya & Bondøya
Norway Andotten
Russia (Asian) Cape Navarin
Russia (Asian) Beringovskiy
Russia (Asian) Cape Olyutorskiy - Cape Irina
Russia (Asian) Getlyangen lagoon and Khalyustkin cape
Russia (Asian) Navarin Cape
Russia (Asian) Talan Island
Norway Froan
Sweden Kullaberg
Iceland Borgarfjördur-Myrar-Longufjorur

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   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%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Indirect ecosystem effects, Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Low Impact: 5
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases - Avian Influenza Virus (H5N1 subtype) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Species mortality
Pollution Industrial & military effluents - Oil spills Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Rissa tridactyla. Downloaded from on 19/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 19/08/2022.