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Quttinirpaaq National Park of Canada


Diving Jaeger © Parks Canada / Mike Ellsworth

34 species of birds have been recorded in Quttinirpaaq, and an additional 5 species might be observed and are referred to as “hypothetical”. Of the 34 species, only 21 are confirmed to nest within the park, with a further three species considered to be likely breeders. Most of the birds found in Quttinirpaaq are either waterfowl, shorebirds, or seabirds. The only raptors known to occur in the park are gyrfalcons and snowy owls, both of which are at the northernmost limit of their range.

The majority of breeding birds in the park are highly migratory, arriving from long distances. Arctic terns migrate from as far as Antarctica. Some species of shorebirds migrate to southern South America, while others fly to the European seaboard. Long-tailed jaegers move to wintering areas in the Atlantic Ocean off Africa, while Brant migrate to Europe. Rock ptarmigan are the only bird species known to overwinter in the park.

Ptarmigan © Parks Canada / Christian Kimber

The breeding season is short. Breeders arrive in late May or early June, with egg-laying occurring in June and fledging in July. Many shorebirds depart by mid-July, leaving their young to follow at the end of July or early August. Waterfowl and seabirds usually depart a bit later, around the end of August or September.

Species List

*Occasional occurrence, rare

Jaegers and Terns

Long-tailed Jaeger, Stercorarius longicaudus

Parasitic Jaeger,* Stercorarius parasiticus

Arctic Tern, Sterne paradisaea


Gyrfalcon, Falco rusticolus

Snowy Owl, Nyctea scandiaca

Sea Eagle,* Haliaeetus albizilla


Ruddy Turnstone, Arenaria interpres

Red Knot, Calidris canutus

Baird’s Sandpiper, Calidris bairdii

Purple Sandpiper, Calidris maritime

Sanderling, Crocethia alba

Common Snipe,* Capella gallinaga

Ringed Plover, Claradrius hiaticula

American Golden Plover,* Pluvialis dominica

Red Phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarus

Sandhill Crane,* Grus Canadensis


Red-throated Loon, Gavia stellata

Greater Snow Goose, Chen caerulescens

Brant Goose, Branta bernicla

Oldsquaw Duck, Clangula hyemalis

King Eider, Somateria spectabilis

Common Eider,* Somateria mollissima

Northern Pintail,* Anas acuta


Black Guillemot, Cepphus grille

Dovekie, Platus alle

Thick-billed, Murre Ura lomvia


Glaucous Gull, Larus hyperboreus

Iceland Gull, Larus glaucoides

Thayer’s Gull,* Larus thayeri

Ivory Gull, Pagophila eburnean

Sabine’s Gull, Xema sabini

Black-legged, Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla

Northern Fulmar, Fulmaris glacialis


Snow Bunting, Plectrophenax nivalis

Lapland Longspur, Calcarius lapponicus

Hoary Redpoll, Acanthis hornemanni

Wheatear, Oenanthe cenanthe

Common Raven, Corvus corax

Rock Ptarmigan, Lagopus mutus