Kittiwakes in the Scottish Borders

KittiwakeKittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)

A small, elegant gull, with short black legs, black ‘ink-dipped’ wingtips and a lemon yellow beak, kittiwakes breed in colonies on cliffs around our coastline. Their name comes from their distinctive ‘kitti – waaaak!’ call. Surface feeders, they are particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in sand eel populations, as they can’t dive deep enough to find other fish prey. The declines in sand eel populations driven by overfishing and climate change are thought to be responsible for declining kittiwake populations over the past 25 years. Kittiwakes leave our coastline in August, to spend the autumn and winter out in the Atlantic.

Kittiwakes can be seen on the cliffs at St Abb's NNR in the summer months