Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)


Red-legged Kittiwake (Rissa brevirostris)


French: Mouette des brumes German: Klippenmöwe Spanish: Gaviota piquicorta

Larus (Rissa) brevirostris


, 1853,

north-western North America


Closely related to and partially sympatric with R. tridactyla, but no interbreeding known. Bones found in deposits on Kodiak I (Alaska). Monotypic.


Bering Sea, in Commander Is, Pribilof Is (St Paul I, Otter I, St George I) and Aleutians (Buldir I, Bogoslof I). Winters widely over N Pacific.

Descriptive notes

35–40 cm; 340–450 g; wingspan 85–92 cm. Three-year gull. Breeding adult is white, apart from dark grey mantle, back and upperwing, grey underwing, and black... read more


Much-higher pitched than R. tridactyla. A high, falsetto, repeated squeal “suWEEEEr”.


Arctic seas. Breeds on vertical sea cliffs on remote islands with other seabirds, including R.... read more

Food and feeding

Fish, squid, and other small marine animals. More than 50% of recorded food items are northern lanternfishfish (Stenobrachius... read more


Arrives at Pribilof Is in April. Apparently, some degree of mate-retention and nest-site fidelity; over 90% of marked birds resighted at... read more


Radiotracking has shown that birds largely remain in the Bering Sea in winter, using multiple... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Endemic to Bering Sea and Aleutians, with only six or seven currently active breeding sites. Breeds in the Pribilof (St Paul, St George and Otter), Bogoslof (... read more

Recommended citation

Burger, J., Gochfeld, M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Red-legged Kittiwake (Rissa brevirostris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 January 2020).