Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

Helping to protect and raise awareness for the Kittiwakes along the River Tyne,
including the Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside.

A Tyne Kittiwake in flight

An Independent Voice

    • Celebrating the unique status of the Tyne Kittiwakes;
      ‘The Furthest Inland Breeding Colony in the World’
    • Supporting efforts to help safeguard the local breeding population of Kittiwakes and their environment.
    • Helping to showcase local educational projects that feature  local wildlife and their habitats.
    • Encouraging bio-diversity along the River Tyne, helping to protect wildlife and their habitats.

The City of Newcastle upon Tyne and the adjacent town of Gateshead boasts a rich wildlife haven along the river tyne. This is popular with birds all year round.  Watch out for Cormorants  swimming in the river or enjoying some shore leave on the rocks nearby drying out their wings.  Look for waders such as Redshanks and Curlews feeding on the tidal mud banks.  Accept the challenge of identifying which species of Gulls are present and try not to miss the migrant birds that have travelled from far away countries to share the bounties of the big river.

Tyne Kittiwakes on the Baltic by Joe Thirlwell


Kittiwakes nesting 
on the Baltic Centre
for Contemporary Art, 
by Joe Thirlwell. 


The cast of Gulls includes; Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls, Herring Gulls and the largest of all often some Great Black-backed Gulls.  In the spring/summer months two more species can be seen daily. These are the Lesser Black-backed Gull and the Kittiwake.  Kittiwakes are very much coastal Gulls, and to find one inland, is very rare.  They spend their lives out at sea.  Pairs regularly breed along our coast on steep cliff edges. The Farne Islands in North Northumberland hosts substantial colonies of nesting sea birds and is well worth a visit if you ever have the opportunity.
A young Tyne Kittiwake - River Tyne - Newcastle - Gateshead

“The Furthest Inland Breeding
Colony of Kittiwakes in the World”

Where the River Tyne passes the quaysides between Newcastle and Gateshead you can find ‘The Worlds Furthest Inland Breeding Colony of Kittiwakes in the World‘. They are a soft gentle Gull with friendly personalities and they wear the black and white colours of the local Geordie football team ‘Newcastle United‘.  Why they chose this urban location no body knows, but they have fallen in love with a big city and they enjoy amazing panoramic views.

Tyne Kittiwakes returned for another year

The ‘Tyne Kittiwakes’ returned and  hundreds successfully nested in 2019. They raised new chicks for the next generation of Kittiwakes. Everyone enjoyed their “kittee-wa-aaake, kittee-wa-aaake” calls.  Help us celebrate this amazing ‘annual event’ ; a valuable opportunity to watch this coastal Gull up close.  It is a privilege that we all need to make the most of. So please come share our good fortune and help welcome the legendary ‘Tyne Kittiwakes’ when they return again during 2020.
A Tyne Kittiwake in flight

Have you read the Tyne Kittiwakes Diary?

There was lots of updates in the Kittiwake Diary last year. If you would like to contribute to the ‘2020 Tyne Kittiwake Diary’ please email or you can send a message to @KittiwakesTyne on twitter. There is also summary reports from 2018-19 with an interactive map on the  Colonies Page


Kittiwakes started to return towards the end of February 2019, from their long winter season far out at sea.


Over two dozen Kittiwakes were trapped in anti-bird netting during the 2018 breeding season.  As less than a dozen Kittiwakes started to explore the Quaysides of Newcastle and Gateshead, some netting was removed last year, and replaced with alternative anti-bird detterants such as ‘Avi-shock’ and ‘Fire-gel’ by some of the buildings owners.

As the new 2019 season progressed, more and more Kittiwakes started to return to some of their favourite nesting sites, along the River Tyne in the North East of England.



Hundreds of Kittiwakes claimed prime locations, on the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art ,a man-made Kittiwake Tower a Newcastle Railway Bridge, the iconic ‘Tyne BridgeAkzo Nobel in Felling, South Tyneside; and the sea cliffs of Tynemouth Haven.

Birds continue to nest on Quayside Buildings

Kittiwakes really need to nest to bring life to the next generation

Despite the introduction of new anti-bird deterrents, some Kittiwakes were able to still build their nests on the ‘Guildhall‘. The new ‘Fire-gel’ anti-bird deterrent which was added to ‘Phoenix House‘ the actual day the Kittiwakes returned, failed altogether and over two dozen birds nested. More buildings along ‘Newcastle Quayside’ were also chosen by the Kittiwakes to nest this season.  One pair of Kittiwakes also nested on the exchange buildings and successfully fledged one young Kittiwake.  Please read the ‘Kittiwake Diary to learn more or you can view summary reports on the Colonies page for each location. There is also an interactive map to help with navigation.

Read More

Anti-bird deterrents installed to stop birds nesting

Birds Trapped in Anti-bird netting – Newcastle

Not everyone is keen to host, a colony of Kittiwakes, and over the years, many  quayside buildings have become carpeted with spikes, anti-bird netting, electric shock systems and fire-gel.  Read More

A fledged Kittiwake trapped in anti-bird netting

A Tyne Kittiwake trapped in anti bird netting

“It’s been really sad to see over recent years the way the Kittiwakes have often been forgotten by certain companies,
treated as an inconvenience
rather than celebrating their unique presence”.

Nick Hartley, Newcastle Greens. @NCLGreenParty

Wye Eye Wheel

Will this new development disturb the established local wildlife?

A new development called the ‘Wye Eye Wheel’  will be built opposite the existing man made ‘Kittiwake Tower’.   This could cause further disturbance to the Tyne Kittiwake colony.  Will the Kittiwake Tower need to be moved yet again?  Read More

Can you help?

“All quotes and photos are very welcome”

Kittiwakes on the Tyne Bridge by Mark Leitch

Any quotes or photos would be very much appreciated for the Kittiwake Diary to help share their progress and raise awareness.  All quotes/photos are credited to authors.
Read More



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