Important Areas for Birds in Nunavut

Photos of Red Phalarope, Common Eider in flight and three Thick-billed Murres on a cliff (two of which are intimately engaged).
© Environment Canada – Gerry Beyersbergen; Tom Johnson; Kyle Elliott

PDF Version - (3.32 MB).

ᐊᕙᑎᓕᕆᔨᖅᔪᐊᒃᑯᑦ  ᑲᓇᑕᒥ  ᖃᕆᑕᐅᔭᒃᑯᑦ  ᐱᕕᒃᓴᐃᑦ  ᑎᑎᕋᖅᓯᒪᔪᖁᑎᖏᓐᓂᒃ  (ᐊᑐᐃᓐᓇᐅᔪᑦ  ᐃᓄᑦᑎᑐᑦ  ᐃᓄᐃᓐᓇᖅᑐᓪᓗ).

Avatiliriyikkut  kanatami  qaritauyakkut  piviksait  titiraqsimayuqutinginnik  (atuinnauyut  inuttitut  inuinnaqtublu).

Navigation Map:

Note: The numbers on the map below are general identification numbers used to identify areas. Choose a zone to navigate to a section of this document for more information. You can also navigate to a particular section of this document by using the Table of Contents.

Map of Nunavut including Hudson Bay and Hudson Strait. Boas River, Southampton Island -- Kivalliq Region Cape Pembroke, Coats Island -- Kivalliq Region Coats Island Lowlands -- Kivalliq Region East Bay, Southampton Island -- Kivalliq Region McConnell River -- Kivalliq Region Middle Back River -- Kivalliq Region Middle Quoich Rivers -- Kivalliq Region Thelon River -- Kivalliq Region Thurton Island -- Kivalliq Region (25) Cambridge Bay Area, Victoria Island -- Kitikmeot Region (26) Jenny Lind Island -- Kitikmeot Region (27) Lambert Channel -- Kitikmeot Region (28) Lower Back River -- Kitikmeot Region (29) Melbourne Island -- Kitikmeot Region (30) Queen Maud Gulf -- Kitikmeot Region (31) Rasmussen Lowlands -- Kitikmeot Region (32) Southwestern Victoria Island -- Kitikmeot Region (35) Abbajalik and Ijutuk Islands, Baffin Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (36) Akpait (Reid Bay), Baffin Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (37) Akpatok Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (38) Baillarge Bay, Baffin Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (39) Baillie-Hamilton Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (40) Batty Bay, Somerset Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (41) Belcher Islands -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (42) Berlinguet Inlet, Baffin Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (43) Browne Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (44) Buchan Gulf, Baffin Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (45) Button Islands -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (46) Cape Hay and Cape Graham Moore, Bylot Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (47) Cape Liddon and Radstock Bay, Devon Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (48) Cheyne Islands -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (49) Creswell Bay, Somerset Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (50) Cumberland Sound -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (51) Digges Sound -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (52) East Axel Heiberg Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (53) Eastern Devon Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (54) Eastern Jones Sound -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (55) Eastern Lancaster Sound -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (56) Fosheim Peninsula, Ellesmere Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (57) Foxe Basin Islands -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (58) Foxe Basin -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (59) Fraser Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (60) Great Plain of the Koukdjuak, Baffin Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (61) Hantzsch Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (62) Hell Gate and Cardigan Strait -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (63) Hobhouse Inlet, Devon Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (64) Inglefield Mountains, Ellesmere Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (65) Markham Bay, Baffin Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (66) Nasaruvaalik (Unnamed) Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (67) Ninginganiq (Isabella Bay), Baffin Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (68) Nirjutiqavvik (Coburg Island) -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (69) North Spicer Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (70) North Water Polynya -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (71) Northwestern Brodeur Peninsula, Baffin Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (72) Polar Bear Pass, Bathurst Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (73) Prince Leopold Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (74) Qaqulliut (Cape Searle), Baffin Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (75) Sabine Peninsula, Melville Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (76) Scott Inlet, Baffin Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (77) Seymour Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (78) Skruis Point, Devon Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (79) Sleeper Islands -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (80) Sydkap Ice Field, Ellesmere Island -- Qikiqtaaluk Region (81) Ungava Bay Archipelago -- Qikiqtaaluk Region

Table of Contents

Document Information

Document Information

Important Areas for Birds in Nunavut

Prepared by the Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, 2012

If you have comments about this booklet, please call 867-669-4709 or email

The Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), part of Environment Canada, handles wildlife matters that are the responsibility of the federal government. These matters include protection and management of migratory birds, nationally significant habitat and endangered species, as well as work on other wildlife issues of national and international importance. In addition, CWS monitors birds migrating to and from Nunavut.

For more information about birds and areas in Nunavut that are important for bird conservation, please contact:

Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
P.O. Box 2310
Yellowknife NT  X1A 2P7
Telephone: 867-669-4709
Fax: 867-873-6776

Additional information can be obtained at:

Environment Canada
Inquiry Centre
10 Wellington Street, 23rd Floor
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3
Telephone: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only) or 819-997-2800
Fax: 819-994-1412
TTY: 819-994-0736

This is a montage of a map of Nunavut including Hudson Bay and Hudson Strait with small flags marking each of the important areas for birds in Nunavut overlaid on a photograph of a group of Thick-billed Murres.

Compilation of:

  • Migratory Bird Sanctuaries (MBSs)
  • National Wildlife Areas (NWAs)
  • Key Terrestrial Habitat Sites
  • Key Marine Habitat Sites
  • Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
  • RAMSAR Wetlands
  • Newly identified important areas

Definitions of Words and Terms Used

Some of the words and names used may be unfamiliar to some readers. We have included brief definitions of some of them below. For additional information, please contact the Canadian Wildlife Service in Yellowknife, at 867-669-4709.

Abundance – Number of birds in an area.

Breeding sites – An area where birds find mates, build nests, lay eggs and raise chicks.

Colony – Large group of birds of one or more species that choose to nest together.

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) – A national committee of experts who are tasked with assessing the biological status of species and assigning each one to a category of risk based on the best available scientific, community and Aboriginal traditional knowledge. COSEWIC makes a recommendation on “risk level” to the federal government. All the species recommended by COSEWIC for designation as a species at risk are on the COSEWIC list.

Diversity – Number of bird species (types of birds) in an area.

Endangered – A species that is close to no longer existing in Canada or the world.

Forage – What a bird eats or where they look for food.

Important Bird Area (IBA) – Sites across the world that identify habitat that is important for birds to survive.

Key Marine Habitat Sites – Areas that are mainly marine (ocean) used by at least 1% of the population of a migratory bird species in Canada anytime during the year; selected by Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service).

Key Terrestrial Habitat Site – Areas that are mainly land used by at least 1% of the population of a migratory bird species in Canada anytime during the year; selected by Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service).

Maternity denning area – A place where female Polar Bears build dens and give birth.

Migration – Seasonal journey of birds from an area of the world to and from their breeding grounds in Nunavut.

Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) – An area managed by Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service) for the protection of migratory bird habitats and breeding sites.

Monitoring – Work of observing, recording and studying wildlife species.

Moult – Process whereby birds shed old feathers and grow new ones.

National Park – An area managed by Parks Canada for the protection of natural areas that are representative of the different types of ecosystems found in Canada.

National Wildlife Area (NWA) – An area managed by Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service) for the protection of the habitats of all species.

Newly identified important bird area – An area important for bird conservation in Nunavut that is not already protected.

Oasis – An area that provides better habitat than the surrounding area.

Polynya – An area of water that is surrounded by ice but open all year, even in winter.

Population – A group of birds of the same species (or subspecies) that live together.

RAMSAR Wetland – Wetlands of international importance to populations of birds.

Seabird – Marine birds (like murres, kittiwakes, gulls) that spend most of their time near the coast and over the oceans.

Shorebird – Birds (like sandpipers, plovers, phalaropes) that spend most of their time in or near wetlands.

Species – A group of birds that look and behave the same and can breed with each other.

Species at risk – Species that may become extinct. The population is not healthy enough to increase or maintain its numbers.

Species at Risk Act (SARA) – The federal Act in Canada that protects species on the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (Schedule 1) and their critical habitat.

Staging area – An area where birds group together to feed and prepare for migration to another area (north or south).

Stopover site – A place where migratory birds stop to rest, sleep and feed.

Threatened – A designation for a species that is likely to become endangered if nothing is done to change what is causing its population decline.

Subspecies – A population of a species that differs physically and genetically from the rest of the species.

UNESCO World Heritage Site – A place that is of cultural or natural importance to the world (as determined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

Wetland – Land that is mostly or wholly covered with water and inhabited by plants that are adapted to the wet conditions.

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