Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

The Furthest Inland Breeding Colony 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 colony 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  Lophophanes

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

In the present day Kittiwakes, can be observed nesting at the
following locations along the River Tyne during the spring/summer months”

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 

Kittiwake Colonies along the River Tyne

A Kittiwake on the Tyne Bridge
by Graham H

Various tall 3-4 storey+ buildings along Newcastle Quayside

Coastal Cliffs or close to the North Sea

  • North Shields, North Tyneside
    Up to 20 pairs nesting close to their natural habitat on the mouth of the River Tyne
  • Tynemouth Haven, North Tyneside
    Over 350 pairs – Kittiwakes nest on sea cliffs, using their natural habitat on the coastline.

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.

Natrual History Society of Northumbria Website To learn more about Daniel’s amazing work and view his Tyne Kittiwake Population Data, please visit the ‘Natural History Society Of Northumbria Website‘ (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 Kittiwakes Partnership‘ to help raise awareness for the Kittiwakes.

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

A Review 1994-2020 – by Daniel M Turner


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.


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