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Location Canada, Manitoba
Central coordinates 98o 42.26' West  50o 50.59' North
IBA criteria A4i
Area 50 ha
Altitude 249 m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description The Sand Reef Islands of Lake Manitoba are located to the east of Ducharme Island, and to the west of Duck Island (also known as Big Birch Island). The IBA additionally includes those islands that are roughly midway between the Sand Reef Islands and Mathews Point. Alonsa is the closest major town, located to the southwest, but the hamlet of Vogar, to the northeast, is nearer to this site. The islands are extremely low-lying with a limited amount of relief and consequently they are subjected to flooding during periods of high water and heavy winds.

Key Biodiversity Based on a Northern American estimated total of only about 34,000 pairs of Caspian Terns, the low-lying islands of this site are home to minimally 3% (1,000 nests recorded) of this population. An unsubstantiated (and possibly erroneous) report records an impressive 3,400 pairs occurring here. Caspian Terns, formerly designated as rare in Canada, have recently been de-listed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

An extensive waterbird breeding survey was completed at this site in 1986. In addition to the Caspian Terns, a total of 300 Common Tern nests, 750 Ring-billed Gull nests, 250 Double-crested Cormorant nests, and 220 American White Pelican nests were recorded on the islands.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia breeding  1986  1,000 nests  A4i  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes and pools; Freshwater marshes/swamps  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research major
fisheries/aquaculture major
tourism/recreation minor

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Sand Reef Islands. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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