British seabirds: Kittiwake

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This Kittiwake was seen on the cliffs of Lizard Point, Cornwall and seemed strangely subdued. A first winter bird with summer plummage breaking through, it appeared tired and reluctant to fly despite being close to the many walkers and their dogs on the South West Coast Path.

Maybe it had just returned from a winter spent out in the Atlantic and was merely tired. However, if it was ill, then it’s survival chances seem slim with predatory Ravens, Great Black-backed Gulls and a pair of Peregrine falcon patrolling the cliffs.

Insight into Kittiwake (latin name Rissa tridactyla): a medium-sized gull that breeds colonially on high steep cliffs around the UK coastline as well as on high buildings in inland cities such as Newcastle.

It spends the winter out at sea feeding on fish and commercial fishing discards.

It derives its name from its call that repeats its name. As an adult it has a yellow bill and all black tips to the wings.

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