Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla
The most numerous of the gull species on Svalbard. Occurs commonly throughout the island group and in the adjacent seas. Strongly bound to the colonies (bird cliffs), where they nest together with other seabirds, primarily auk species. The population is decreasing, but probably more than 200,000 pairs still breed.
Features: 37-42 cm, 300-525 gram. ♂=♀. The adult birds are easily recognizable with black legs and an entirely black triangle at the wing tips. The young of the year have a characteristic contrasting wing pattern. The one year old birds have a grey spot on the cheek and a less bright plumage. The adults in winter plumage have grey marks on the head and neck from October to February. Mainly silent away from the nest site. In the colonies there is a great deal of calling, an almost constant chattering of territorial calls resulting from conflicts with neighbours or other intruders.
Breeding: Normally nests in large colonies on steep cliffs. Several of the colonies have several tens of thousands of pairs. Nests also on buildings in some of the human habitations. Lays one or two eggs in a large nest built of dry grass, seaweed and damp moss.