Grasslands National Park (west)

Country/territory: Canada

IBA Criteria met: -
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 65,000 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description
Grasslands National Park is an extensive area of mixed-grass prairie. This IBA is the portion of the park that lies near the Montana border and encompasses a 10 km wide area on either side of the Frenchman River valley. The site is characterized by numerous eroded gullies in association with the Frenchman River drainage system and the upland grasslands that surround the valley. The park is one of the largest pieces of undisturbed mixed-grass prairie in North America.

Several rare mammals and reptiles occur or may occur in this park. The list includes: Swift Fox (listed as extirpated from Canada in 1978) which has been recently reintroduced, possibly Black-footed Ferret (also listed as extirpated), Black-tailed Prairie Dog, Eastern Short-horned Lizard, Eastern Yellowbelly Racer and Prairie Rattlesnake.

Key biodiversity
his grassland site is highly significant for hosting greater than 50% of the nationally endangered Sage Grouse population. A total of 403 Sage Grouse were recorded, out of a total Canadian population estimate of about 800 birds. Additionally, one pair of the globally vulnerable and nationally endangered Mountain Plover was documented breeding here in 1987, and could be found again. Since the Canadian population estimate for this species has only been as high as 11 in recent years, this is nationally significant. Fifteen to twenty-five Burrowing Owl nests are known from this western area of Grasslands National Park, representing as much as 2.5% of the nationally endangered Canadian population.

Other birds of interest that breed at this site include: the nationally vulnerable Ferruginous Hawk (8 nests, half active each year), Golden Eagle (3 nests, not all active), Long-billed Curlew (nationally vulnerable) and Common Poor-will.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Grasslands National Park (west). Downloaded from on 27/01/2023.