Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

The Furthest Inland Breeding Colonies of Kittiwakes in the World

Home Tyne Kittiwake Colonies

Tyne Kittiwake Colonies

Every year thousands of Kittiwakes, make the long journey to the British Isles from the world’s second largest ocean; the Atlantic. Many birds are lost during the winter period from predators, storms and lack of food, especially during current times where foods sources are dwindling.

“Yep! And a pair were successful on the
lamp post again” by Lophophanes

Yep And a pair were successful on the lamp post again this year by LophophanesKittiwakes are very much coastal birds and don’t usually travel inland to breed. Breeding colonies usually appear on coastal cliffs and islands, such as » The Farne islands off the Northumberland Coast.  At the Farnes other species of sea birds such as Puffins, Arctic Terns, Guillemots and Razorbills, usually join them to breed and to help secure their future.

Meet the legendary
Tyne Kittiwakes

The Furthest Inland Breeding colonies of Kittiwakes in the World

The Black-legged Kittiwakes, have spent their winter feeding as far away as Canada. Hundreds of these soft gentle Gulls return every spring to build their nests along the River Tyne at a few specially selected sites, that they have chosen themselves to call their home during the breeding season.

A Tyne Kittiwake with an egg by Lophophanes


A Tyne Kittiwake with
an egg by  

Unlike many of their larger cousins, such as the Herring Gull or Lesser Black-backed Gull which scavenge lots, Kittiwakes feed on a diet of fish, worms and shrimps etc. Whilst the Kittiwakes are with us they regularly travel long distances to feed; at times even as far as the Farne Islands.



An Inland Colony of Kittiwakes

Please come visit these amazing seabirds

As of  2023/24 up to 2,417 pairs of Kittiwakes were observed nesting at the following locations along the River Tyne, including the coastal cliffs at Tynemouth.”

Kittiwakes nesting on the Baltic by Diane Wailes dwailes

To learn more about a site, please click on one of the links or use the interactive map below to read a summary report.


Kittiwakes nesting on the Baltic
by Diane Wailes 

Inland Kittiwake Colonies
along the River Tyne

Elsewhere in Gateshead


A Kittiwake on the Tyne Bridge
by Graham H



Elsewhere on Newcastle Quayside

Coastal Cliffs or close to the North Sea – North Tyneside


Click on a ‘Kittiwake Image Marker’ above to view additional information about each location.
You can also use the maps zoom controls to help navigate the map
to view the Kittiwake Tower in Gateshead and Akzo Nobel in Felling.

Tyne Kittiwake Population Data

Seabirds make the riverside their home

Daniel Turner has monitored the breeding population
of Kittiwakes along the River Tyne since 1994“.

Since the early 1990s the numbers of Kittiwakes that have chosen to nest at this unique location has increased from a few to over a thousand.

To learn more about Daniel’s amazing work and view his Tyne Kittiwake Population Data, please visit the
» Natural History Society Of Northumbria (NHSN). The NHSN are members of the Tyne Kittiwake Partnership (TKP) and they are also great supporters for the Tyne Kittiwakes.

Daniel Turner also manages a » Facebook page for the Tyne Kittiwake Partnership to help raise awareness for the Kittiwakes.

View the Tyne Kittiwake Population Data from Daniel Turner

Breeding Tyne Kittiwakes

The River Tyne nesting Kittiwakes have shown a remarkable story since their beginnings in 1949. Explore a new talk as local ornithologist, Dan Turner, shares some of their nesting sites along the Tyne and examines trends in their numbers and breeding success.

At times the Tyne Kittiwakes fly as far away as the
Farne Islands in Northumberland to feed”

During this talk it references a paper by Chris Redfern and Richard Bevan.
A comparison of foraging behaviour in the North Sea by Black-legged Kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla from an inland and a maritime colony. This can be found on » Taylor and Francis Online

Listen to Daniel Turner – A Review 1994-2020

The Kittiwake – by John C Coulson

Published 2011 – T & AD Poyser

The Kittiwake - by John C Coulson

Bursting with everything you ever wanted to learn about Kittiwakes”

Read about John Coulson’s amazing insights into the lives of the worlds Black-legged Kittiwakes.  John Coulson has decades of experience researching The Kittiwake.  Brilliantly written and presented.

    • An essential companion for all academics studying seabirds, colonial species and especially Kittiwakes.
    • Beautifully illustrated and features photos of our well-loved Tyne Kittiwakes

Copies are available to order in from local book shops.

Elsewhere in the UK & Europe

Later in 2024 new content will starting appearing to help share the stories of colonies of Kittiwakes and other seabirds from other parts of the UK and mainland Europe. These will include more local colonies such as in Durham, Marsden and Northumberland; as well as those more distant such as Bridlington, Dunbar, Lowestoft, Scarborough  and Swansea.

Our journey to other colonies of Kittiwakes will be
shared via a new national website dedicated to Kittiwakes”

France and Norway colonies will also feature, in the near future. If you are aware of a colony of Kittiwakes you would like us to include please get in touch.


Read tweets by ‘Kittiwakes upon the Tyne’
@KittiwakesTyne for latest updates.