Family:Gulls and terns
38cm to 40cm
95cm to 110cm
300g to 500g
The kittiwake is a medium-sized member of the gull family. They have grey backs, white parts underneath and small yellow bill. Legs are black and short. Whilst in flight, the black wing tips don't show any white - this is unlike other gulls.
They are coastal birds, which can be found around the coasts around the UK in the breeding season and spend winter months out at sea in the Atlantic Ocean.
Kittiwake populations have been declining in some areas of the UK and this could be down to a shortage of sand eels.
Their diets mainly consist of shrimps, fish and worms.
Named in honour of the French naturalist and ornithologist, Jean Victor Audouin (1797 – 1841) the Audouin’s gull is one of the world’s rarest and is limited in the main to regions within and surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
Terns are water birds from the family Sternidae and are expert fish catchers. There are generally considered to be forty five separate species of terns worldwide. Generally smaller than gulls but with long tails, thin bodies and short legs, they are long distance migrants.
There are four sub-species of the common gull with the European variant being the nominate. The other three are the Russian, Kamchatka and American, which are all predominantly confined to the geographical region attributed by their name. There are subtle differences in plumage and overall size of bird between sub-species.
The title of Black-headed Gull is rather a misnomer for this bird as its head is not black but a dark brown colour and only in adult birds during the breeding season. It is not present during the winter months or in other plumages. Unlike many gulls it is not restricted to coastal regions and is widespread inland in both rural and urban areas.
A graceful tern, easily distinguishable in their black summer plumage, which they're named after.
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