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Location Canada, Yukon Territories
Central coordinates 138o 27.14' West  69o 15.04' North
IBA criteria A4i
Area 44,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description The Babbage River and Spring River deltas are located on the Beaufort Sea along the Yukon coast. The site encompasses about 15 km of coastline and extends out 12 km into the Beaufort Sea to include Kay Point and Phillips Bay. The site continues about 1 km inland, except at the Babbage River delta where it continues up to 5 km inland. The larger Babbage River flows westward into the east side of Phillips Bay, while the Spring Rivers empties into the bay about 8 km to the west, and approaches from the south. Within these deltas, the dominant habitats include ponds, channels, grass-sedge wetlands, salt marshes, and tidal mudflats. Along the coast, gravel and sand beaches dominate, while further inland arctic tundra consists of dwarf shrubs, sedges, and herbs.

Key Biodiversity With its sheltered bays and wetlands, this site is used for moulting and staging by many species of birds, especially waterfowl. In September, 1980, a total of 12,000 Black Brant were surveyed in Phillips Bay. This represents 4% of the global population and 8.6% of the western subspecies nigricans. In 1975, 1175 were counted in Phillips Bay. The Brant are usually concentrated in the tidal flats of the Spring and Babbage river deltas. Other geese seen in the area include over 1,500 Greater White-fronted Geese recorded in Phillips Bay in the fall of 1986 and Canada Geese and Lesser Snow Geese (in breeding and migration seasons). Small numbers of Glaucous Gulls breed in scattered locations, but in the fall, numbers increase significantly: a high count of 222 birds in 1981 represents about 1% of the national population.

Breeding birds recorded in the area include Pacific Loon, waterfowl (especially Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Oldsquaw and Red-breasted Merganser), and shorebirds, such as Semipalmated Sandpiper and Red-necked Phalarope. In late summer, it is thought that the area is important for brood-rearing and staging shorebirds.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Brent Goose Branta bernicla passage  1980  12,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ivvavik National Park 1,017,000 protected area overlaps with site 32,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Steppe & dry calcareous grassland; Tundra  -
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes and pools; Rivers; Salt/brackish marshes  -
Sea Open sea  -

Land use

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Babbage and Spring River Deltas. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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