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Location Canada, Ontario
Central coordinates 82o 35.77' West  55o 8.08' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 100,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada



Site description Cape Henrietta Maria juts into Hudsons Bay at the northwestern tip of James Bay. This site includes the offshore islands, shoals and associated marshes stretching 40 km west from Cape Henrietta Maria to Wabusk Point and Little Bear Island. These wide intertidal marshes and shallow shoals along the coast extend 5 to 6 km offshore. Expansive mudflats and shoals surround Little Bear Island, which is located about 5 km from the coast. Inland areas contain some of the most extensive coastal marshes on the Hudson Bay coast. The area is peppered with numerous small lakes, potholes and grassy marshes, interspersed with at least 10 km of drier heath lichen tundra on old beach ridges.

The terrain of the cape consists of bare limestone ridges in the northernmost part, and sparse grasses and sedges interspersed by small ponds and lakes. The site is an important summering area for Polar Bears; about 200 bears or 30 to 40% of Ontarios summering bears are found here.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Snow Goose Anser caerulescens breeding  1997  280,200 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Brent Goose Branta bernicla passage  1982  20,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  1997  100,000-499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Polar Bear Provincial Park 2,355,200 protected area overlaps with site 34,000  
Polar Bear Provincial Park Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,408,700 protected area overlaps with site 31,000  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Tundra  -
Wetlands (inland) Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats; Salt/brackish marshes  -
Sea Open sea  -
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -

Land use

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cape Henrietta Maria. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/08/2014

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