Kittiwake, for its high-pitched cry, "Keet! Keet! Wake! Wake!'' A full-grown kittiwake is 16 to 18 inches (41 to 46 cm) long. Except for its pale-gray back and pale-gray, black-tipped wings, its plumage is snowy white. It has a yellow bill. The kittiwake is the only truly oceanic gull; it is seen near land only when it comes to nest on craggy cliffs. It feeds on fish, mollusks, plankton, and garbage from ships. The black-legged kittiwake is found in cold waters of the north Atlantic; the Pacific kittiwake in cold waters of the north Pacific. The red-legged kittiwake keeps to the Bering Sea.

Kittiwakes belong to the genus Rissa of the gull subfamily, Laridae. The black-legged kittiwake is R. tridactyla; Pacific, R. tridactyla pollicaris; redlegged, R. brevirostris.