email a friend
printable version
Location Canada, Ontario
Central coordinates 81o 52.62' West  42o 16.96' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 14,000 ha
Altitude 174 - 178m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description The Greater Rondeau Area is situated on the shoreline of Lake Erie, southeast of the town of Chatham. In addition to Rondeau Provincial Park, this site encompasses adjacent areas including Rondeau Bay and associated marshes and adjacent fields, Bates marsh, Erieau pier, harbour and beach, McGeachy's Pond, and the Morpeth Cliffs. Rondeau is the largest provincial park in southwestern Ontario. It is a low-lying sand spit that consists of a series of ridges and sloughs. A variety of habitats are present which contribute to the bird diversity. These habitats include productive southern hardwood forests, sandy beaches and wetlands ranging from woodland sloughs, to a large marsh and productive inland bay. The unique habitats of the park and surrounding area support many nationally vulnerable, threatened, and endangered species of flora and fauna.

Key Biodiversity The Greater Rondeau Area supports significant populations of migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, along with populations of several threatened species that nest in the area.

The wetlands of Rondeau are recognized as a major waterfowl staging area. In addition, shorebirds are also found in large numbers. Species that are present in significant numbers (greater than 1% of their estimated North American or world population) include: Greater Scaup (1.6%); Tundra Swan (4% of their North American population); Common Goldeneye (about 1%); Ruddy Turnstone (1.2%); and Forsters Tern (about 1%). In spring and fall, thousands of Black-bellied Plovers and American Golden-Plovers can be seen feeding in open fields; the exact composition of these flocks, and therefore their significance, is not known, however. Up to 250 Whimbrel have also been recorded in spring migration.

Numerous nationally endangered species nest at Rondeau Provincial Park. The park has traditionally supported the largest breeding population of Prothonotary Warblers in Canada. This species has since declined in numbers, with only 13 pairs being recorded in Canada during 1997, six of which nested at Rondeau. Acadian Flycatchers and King Rails also breed at Rondeau: in 1997, four territorial Acadian Flycatchers were recorded in the mature deciduous forest habitats, and in the adjacent marsh, two King Rails were recorded. For both of these species, the estimated Canadian population is well below 100 pairs. In addition, at least nine pairs of Least Bitterns (nationally vulnerable) were recorded in 1997.

During the 1981 to 1985 surveys for the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, the Rondeau area had the highest diversity of breeding birds in the province. Out of the more than 330 species recorded as breeding in Ontario, 134 were recorded in the Greater Rondeau Area.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus passage  1996  8,500 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Greater Scaup Aythya marila passage  1995  12,500 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds non-breeding  1995  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Rondeau Provincial Park 3,254 protected area contained by site 2,200  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Temperate mixed woods  -
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes and pools  -
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
nature conservation and research major
hunting major
tourism/recreation major
urban/industrial/transport minor

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Greater Rondeau Area. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife