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Location Canada, Ontario
Central coordinates 86o 47.76' West  55o 53.52' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 88,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description The Shagamu River enters Hudson Bay about half way between the Severn River to the west and the Winisk River to the east. The site encompasses both sides of the mouth of the Shagamu River for about 40 km east to Ministick Creek and 30 km west to Beavertrap Creek. Numerous beach ridges are located parallel to the coast, with hollows containing thousands of small ponds and lakes. Near the coast, supertidal marshes occur inland, with extensive intertidal marshes and submerged shoals extending well offshore. The raised beach ridges are vegetated with scattered graminoids, and these ridges becoming covered with heath tundra and scattered spruces as one progresses inland. These coastal beach ridges are an important calving area for Woodland Caribou (designated as nationally vulnerable).

Key Biodiversity Shorebirds and waterfowl occur at this site in large numbers during both the spring and fall migration. During a 1993 study, significant one-day counts were recorded for two shorebird species: Hudsonian Godwit (920 over 1% of the worlds estimated population) and Pectoral Sandpiper (900 over 2% of the worlds estimated population). Up to 600 American Golden-Plovers have also been recorded during one-day counts. Large numbers of Lesser Snow Geese and Canada Geese have also been recorded at this site during both the spring and fall migrations. Notable numbers include one-day counts of over 20,000 Lesser Snow Geese in both the spring and fall and almost 10,000 Canada Geese in the fall. (The Canada Geese were likely from either the Tall Grass Prairie or the Mississippi Valley populations.)

In addition to staging geese and shorebirds, significant numbers of Black Scoters gather in moulting flocks of the coastline. Aerial surveys during the late summer of 1994 resulted in an estimate of 43,700 birds (as much as 21.8% of the estimated eastern North American population).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Melanitta nigra non-breeding  1991  43,700 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica passage  1993  920 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds resident  1991  20,000-49,999 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  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Scrub  -
Grassland Tundra  -
Wetlands (inland) Estuarine waters; Fens transition mires & springs; Freshwater lakes and pools; Freshwater marshes/swamps; Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats; Rivers; Salt/brackish marshes  -
Sea Open sea  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research minor
hunting major

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

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