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Location Canada, Northwest Territories
Central coordinates 117o 7.87' West  61o 7.26' North
IBA criteria A4i
Area 46,100 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description Beaver Lake is the name for a wide part of the Mackenzie River where the river meets the western end of Great Slave Lake. Fort Providence, Northwest Territories is situated 20 kilometres downstream. Most of the land surrounding the lake is low-lying and underlain by shales and limestones. Big Island sits at the mouth of the Mackenzie River and so separates Beaver Lake (the river) into two channels, North and South. The north shores of these channels contain large areas of sedge-grass marshes, whereas narrower marshes line the south shores. Islands of the North Channel are generally low and marshy, but the islands of the South Channel are higher and often hold small spruce-poplar forests.

Key Biodiversity Tundra Swans and several species of ducks stop over in Beaver Lake during both spring and fall migration. Records from the autumn of 1972 show that 4,470 Tundra Swans were observed at this time, and in the spring of the following year, 1,175 were seen. The fall numbers equal about 2% of the current North American Tundra Swan population. This percentage may actually be higher because the overall population of the species has grown in recent years.

In the fall, roughly double the number of ducks (approximately 10,000) use the area as do in the spring (approximately 5,000). The most common species are Canvasback, American Wigeon, Mallards, and the scaup species. On one occasion, 8,000 Canvasbacks were seen in the North Channel. This is about 1% of the global population of the species.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus passage  1972  4,470 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
not utilised major

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Beaver Lake. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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