Gulls Index Page

<< Back to the top
Kittiwake - Rissa tridactyla
Juvenile / first-years
Kittiwake - juvenile / first-winter, Southend Pier, Essex November 2008
A contrasting Black, Grey and white gull in juvenile plumage. The bill is black and slender with fine tapering tip whilst the legs are short and a dingy reddish-grey colour.

The ear spot is dark and crescent shaped with a diffuse grey band extending slighty onto the crown whilst there is a prominent black half collar. There is dark smudging around the eye, especially in front whilst the eye-ring is white and narrow.

The mantle and scapulars are grey with fine paler fringing whilst the lesser coverts are black and stretch across the wing, along with a few upper median coverts, to the inner greater coverts.

The tertials are largely white tipped with the inner feathers having bold black lines running along the length as extension from the lesser coverts, mid wing band.

The primaries are black with only very small white tips whilst the tail shows an obvious black band.
Kittiwake - First-winter, Southend Pier, Essex 4th February 2018
The black outer primaries and black lesser coverts create a broken W across the upper-wing, not meeting across the back which is plain. The had collar is obvious and the ear-spot bold.

The only likely confusion species is Sabine's Gull which at range can have an upper-wing pattern that can appear similar.

This bird shows the pale inner-primaries, secondaries and greater coverts which contrast with the darker grey of the rest of the upper-parts.

The often very grey and low light quickly changing to a fairly bright and backlit setting made getting any decently lit images challenging.
Kittiwake - First-winter/second-winter, Southend Pier, Essex 4th February 2018
This is an interesting bird as its plumage is basically as would be expected on a typical 1st winter individual however the bill is showing extensive areas of yellow thus suggesting a transition from 1st year to 2nd year.