Gros Morne National Park

Country/territory: Canada

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

Area: 190,000 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description
Gros Morne National Park, on the western coast of Newfoundland, is a large park known for its spectacular scenery. It has a combination of mountainous barrens, forests, and diverse coastal lowlands. In mountainous areas, extensive areas of open and rocky ground are found at the higher elevations, while at lower elevations boreal forest tree species, such as spruce and fir, are present. Gros Morne Mountain at 806 m is the second highest point in Newfoundland. Long fiord-like inlets and lakes create a dramatic contrast to the rolling mountains. Unlike Gros Morne Mountain and the surrounding hills, the Tablelands area is almost without vegetation. The ancient peridotite rock found at this unique feature was formed in the Earths mantle and is chemically inhospitable to plants. The presence of this feature as well as others, was the reason behind the designation of Gros Morne National Park as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Arctic Hare and the Newfoundland Caribou are two of the highland mammals that can be seen in Gros Morne National Park.

In the lowlands, diverse bog, meadow, shrub and coastal plant communities are found. For instance, near Bakers Brook Pond and Western Brook Pond are bogs containing Bakeapple, Leafy White Orchis, Pitcher Plant, iris, cranberry and heath plants. The coastal environments range from sandy beaches of dune grass to coastal cliffs to cobble beaches.

Key biodiversity
Not surprisingly a park of this size with its varied habitats is host to many species of birds in total, 207 bird species have been recorded here. One of the most notable is the Rock Ptarmigan subspecies welchi. Other subspecies breed in the arctic, but this subspecies finds suitable habitat atop the mountains of Gros Morne National Park and a few other regions of Newfoundland. This subspecies has a range of less than 50,000 km2 in Canada, which qualifies it for the restricted-range category of the IBA program. Two other restricted-range species found in the park are the Red Crossbill subspecies pusilla and the Ovenbird subspecies furvoir. The Red Crossbill is found sparsely across coniferous forests while the Ovenbird is found in deciduous woods in summer.

Small but noteworthy numbers of breeding Harlequin Ducks are found on inaccessible rivers in the park. A partial survey in 1997 revealed 11 Harlequin Ducks.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gros Morne National Park. Downloaded from on 06/12/2021.