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Auyuittuq National Park of Canada


There are 18 known species of breeding birds in Auyuittuq. 11 other species have been recorded, and an additional 11 species might be observed and are referred to as "hypothetical". Half of the bird species in the park are either seabirds or shorebirds and are associated with the coastal marine environment.

Raven © Christian Kimber

Bird species presence, distributions, breeding status and relative abundance are not well known in this park. Visitors are encouraged to contribute to the Auyuittuq resource inventory by taking careful notes on bird observations and reporting this information to the park office. Visitors are also welcome to fill out a Northwest Territories/Nunavut bird checklist form.

Land Birds

The most common land birds are the rock ptarmigan, lapland longspur, snow bunting, and water pipit. Less common terrestrial birds include the horned lark, common raven, common redpoll, hoary redpoll, and northern wheatear. These species tend to favour areas with dwarf willow or other tundra vegetation.

 Snow bunting © Christian Kimber


Raptors in the park include the rough-legged hawk, gyrfalcon, peregrine falcon, and snowy owl. Raptors in the park are sparsely distributed and sightings are relatively uncommon. The Owl River Valley is the best area to look for raptors, as there is good nesting habitat and a higher abundance of prey species (small mammals and birds). Snowy owls are most commonly observed during periods of high lemming populations, but at other times are rarely seen. Rough-legged hawks, gyrfalcons, and peregrines nest on cliffs, while the snowy owls make their nests on the ground. Hikers should be careful not to disturb any raptor nests.

Freshwater Birds

Common freshwater bird species in the park include the red-throated loon, Canada goose, and snow goose. These species nest near freshwater ponds and tundra lakes. Freshwater birds that are less common or even rare include the common loon, long-tailed duck, red-breasted merganser, and tundra swan.

Coastal Birds and Shorebirds

Birds commonly seen in coastal areas of the park include the common eider, king eider, and glaucous gull. Uncommon coastal species include the dovekie and Sabine's gull. Shorebirds that can be observed include the common ringed plover, semi-palmated plover, red-necked phalarope, and Baird's sandpiper.

Sandpiper © Christian Kimber

At least 11 species in addition to those noted above are likely to be in the park area, and are referred to as "hypothetical". Hypothetical bird species include the northern fulmar, atlantic brant, golden eagle, ruddy turnstone, white-rumped sandpiper, purple sandpiper, parasitic jaeger, black-legged kittiwake, ivory gull, thick-billed murre, and black guillemot. Watch for these species when travelling to and from the park, as well as within the park.