whitish plumage, black wing-tips; all-yellow bill (California, USA; 2012-01-04)

Black-legged Kittiwake

Rissa tridactyla

Native Range: North America and Eurasia; A very rare vagrant in Orange County.  All of  these pictures were taken from the San Clemente pier on Jan. 4, 2012.  

Notes: kittiwakes get their name from their call or voice, which sounds like kitti-weeeik; nests precariously on the ledges on sheer cliffs above northern rocky shorelines; feeds mostly far out at sea.

All photographs and notes ©2012 John C. Avise

second-year bird, as told by black wing dots (California, USA; 2012-01-04)

adult's bill is plain yellow, slightly decurved (California, USA; 2012-01-04)

head-on view in flight (California, USA; 2012-01-04)

black collar across grey nape; grey above eye (California, USA; 2012-01-04)

adult has all-white tail and pale primaries (California, USA; 2012-01-04)

the back of the head looks "smudgy" (California, USA; 2012-01-04)

hunts at sea, but sometimes comes nearshore (California, USA; 2012-01-04)

flight agile on wings that are held rather stiff (California, USA; 2012-01-04)

ventral flight view of this handsome species (California, USA; 2012-01-04)

dorsal flight view; still handsome (California, USA; 2012-01-04)

legs are short and dark or almost black (California, USA; 2012-01-04)

eating a fisherman's piece of squid (California, USA; 2012-01-04)

posing for a portrait (California, USA; 2012-01-04