One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small gull that nests in colonies on sea cliffs, having a loud call that resembles its name.
Genus Rissa, family Laridae: two species, in particular the black-legged Rissa tridactyla of the North Atlantic and North Pacific
- ‘The northwards path along a rocky coastline takes you to the castle, a romantic ruin where kittiwakes, cormorants and fulmars nest on whinstone cliffs.’
- ‘The UK government uses kittiwakes as an indicator of the state of the sea.’
- ‘Wardens are now pinning their hopes on the next few months, when the kittiwake's chicks will hatch, and say the recent good weather may make for a ‘bumper crop’.’
- ‘Coastal and seabird numbers have remained stable, with big increases in guillemot numbers balancing the decline in kittiwakes.’
- ‘Bempton is the largest seabird colony in England and is home to a breathtaking array of gannets, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, fulmars - and puffins.’
Early 17th century (originally Scots): imitative of its call.
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