The Black-legged Kittiwake
is primarily a pelagic species, rarely spending time on land except during the
breeding season. They are generally rare migrants and winter visitors
inland. Kittiwakes are named after their loud, piercing call.
Habitat: Spends the majority of its life
at sea, anywhere from the coastline to far out at sea. Breeds on steep
cliffs near the Arctic.
Diet: Primarily feeds on fish, but will also eat crustaceans,
mollusks, marine worms, and insects.
Behavior: Often forages while in flight, dipping
down to the water's surface to grab fish and other prey. They will
also swim on the ocean's surface and grab food items.
Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota.
Song: A loud ki-ti-waaake
Migration: Summers in the extreme north around the
Arctic. Winters off both coasts of the U.S., generally well offshore.
Conservation Status: Wide fluctuations in local populations, with
some areas experiencing huge increases in numbers and others experiencing large
South Dakota Hotspot: A rarity, but most sightings
have occurred below the Missouri River reservoir dams.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Black-legged Kittiwake"
eNature.com: Black-legged Kittiwake
Photo Information: August 8th, 2010 -- Near Seward,
Alaska -- Terry L. Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Black-legged Kittiwake photos.