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Location Canada, Manitoba
Central coordinates 97o 21.62' West  52o 7.27' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 200 ha
Altitude 217 - 220m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description Gull and Sandhill Island are located southwest of Commissioner Island and east of McBeth Point, near the southern end of Lake Winnipeg's northern basin. These islands are sandy and have low elevations; Gull Island rises no more than 3 m above the high water line, and Sandhill Island rises even less. Both islands are vegetated with patches of trees, shrubs, and broad expanses of grasses and other herbaceous plants.

Key Biodiversity In 1998, a total of 3,150 American White Pelican nests were recorded on Gull Island during the late summer. This represents about 3.7% of the world's estimated population, and comprised the largest American White Pelican colony on Lake Winnipeg for that year. A survey in 1997 yielded an estimate of 2,500+ pairs, but this estimate was undoubtedly low since the colony was only visited from a distance by boat to avoid disturbing the birds.

Sandhill Island, which is located to the south, supports large numbers of Common Terns. In 1997, the total number of nesting birds was estimated to be 4,400+ pairs. This total may represent as much as 11% of the estimated North American Common Tern population, and is the largest known colony west of New Brunswick.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos breeding  1998  3,150 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  1997  4,400 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  1997  2,500-9,999 breeding pairs  unknown  A4iii   


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Temperate deciduous woods  -
Shrubland Scrub  -
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes and pools  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture minor

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Gull and Sandhill Island. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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