Quiz: What Bird?

What bird is flying over the iceberg in Franz Josef Land? (photo from Wikimedia Commons)
What bird is flying here in Franz Josef Land? (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

This Featured picture from Wikimedia Commons was taken in Franz Josef Land, a Russian archipelago of 191 islands in the Arctic Ocean.

It’s a beautiful photo of an iceberg and there’s a bird in it.

Quiz:  What bird?

Here are some hints:

So what bird is flying by this iceberg in Russia?  I think I know.

Leave a comment with your answer.


(photo from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image to see the original)

14 thoughts on “Quiz: What Bird?

    1. Uh oh. That was my first thought, too, but bald eagles only occur in North America, not in Franz Josef Land. Look again, Cyndi.

  1. Looking at the list of potentials, I narrowed it down to kittiwake. You can’t see its legs, but since Black-legged outnumber Red-legged 4-1 and the beak looks on the large size, I also think Black-legged Kittiwake.

  2. I think it’s a Black-legged Kittiwake. My first thought was Herring Gull, but the wing pattern is wrong (white on primaries is closer to body than, not within, the black wing tips), and Franz Josef Land is nearly 80 degrees North. As far as I have found out, Herring Gull doesn’t make it that far north except as a vagrant. I had always assumed Herring Gull occurred well into the Arctic. I don’t think Red-legged Kittiwake occurs in Franz Josef Land, but the wing pattern suggests Black-legged Kittiwake.

  3. The guide is Alaska told us the Pacific Black-legged Kittiwakes had a hind toe, while the Atlantic ones don’t. Which leaves out the Arctic, which I wonder if they cross over?

    1. Janet, This is the Atlantic subspecies according to the Handbook of Birds of the World at this link: http://www.hbw.com/species/black-legged-kittiwake-rissa-tridactyla).
      “Subspecies and Distribution
      R. t. tridactyla (Linnaeus, 1758) – Atlantic Kittiwake – N Atlantic from NC Canada and NE USA E through Greenland to W & N Europe, and on to N Taymyr Peninsula and Severnaya Zemlya; winters S to Sargasso Sea and W Africa.
      R. t. pollicaris Ridgway, 1884 – Pacific Kittiwake – N Pacific from NE Siberia, Kamchatka, Sea of Okhotsk and Kuril Is through Bering Sea to Alaska; winters S to East China Sea and NW Mexico.”

      Also according to HBW, climate change is causing a huge decline in black-legged kittiwakes. So sad!
      “The Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) is by far the most abundant North Atlantic gull, with a global population estimated at some 15 million individuals. However, a large-scale decline has been apparent since the 1980s. As in other seabird species, declines at some colonies have been linked to rising sea surface temperatures, probably through their effects in changing zooplankton communities and reducing prey availability and nutritional value.”

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