Gull and Sandhill Island

Country/territory: Canada

IBA Criteria met: A4i, A4iii (2008)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 200 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description
Gull and Sandhill Island are located southwest of Commissioner Island and east of McBeth Point, near the southern end of Lake Winnipeg's northern basin. These islands are sandy and have low elevations; Gull Island rises no more than 3 m above the high water line, and Sandhill Island rises even less. Both islands are vegetated with patches of trees, shrubs, and broad expanses of grasses and other herbaceous plants.

Key biodiversity
In 1998, a total of 3,150 American White Pelican nests were recorded on Gull Island during the late summer. This represents about 3.7% of the world's estimated population, and comprised the largest American White Pelican colony on Lake Winnipeg for that year. A survey in 1997 yielded an estimate of 2,500+ pairs, but this estimate was undoubtedly low since the colony was only visited from a distance by boat to avoid disturbing the birds.

Sandhill Island, which is located to the south, supports large numbers of Common Terns. In 1997, the total number of nesting birds was estimated to be 4,400+ pairs. This total may represent as much as 11% of the estimated North American Common Tern population, and is the largest known colony west of New Brunswick.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gull and Sandhill Island. Downloaded from on 29/11/2021.