Kerouard and St. James Islands

Country/territory: Canada

IBA Criteria met: A4ii, A4iii (2008)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 12,000 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description
The Kerouard Islands are a group of rugged, treeless islets lying south of Kunghit Island at the extreme southern tip of the Queen Charlotte Islands. They consist of three main islets and several small rocks surrounding the larger islets. The two largest islets have steep grassy slopes on their eastern sides which grade to rounded grass-covered tops. The principle grass species is Calamagrostis, with Elymus on the perimeter. In some areas, the grass tussocks reach heights of 1.5 metres. The third islet of the Kerouards is deeply dissected and comprised of ledges and bluffs completely devoid of vegetation. There is a major Northern Sealion rookery occupying this islet.

St. James Island is located in close proximity to the Kerouard Islands, just off the southern tip of Kunghit Island. It exhibits vegetation that is transitional between the forested islands to the north and the exposed and treeless Kerouard Islands to the south. The northern section is forested, while the southern section is grass covered and devoid of trees.

Key biodiversity
The two largest of the Kerouard Islands support a dense colony of burrow-nesting Cassin's Auklets (4.4% of the global population). It is the second largest colony of this species in the Queen Charlotte Islands and the 4th largest of 52 island colonies along the B.C. coast. Common Murres occur in nationally significant numbers (4.6% of the western Canada population). The Kerouards are the only site in the Queen Charlotte Islands where they breed. The Islands also support about 930 Tufted Puffins, just over 1% of the national population.

A breeding pair of Peregrine Falcons (ssp. pealei), also nest on the Kerouard Islands. This subspecies is considered nationally vulnerable. Additionally, the islands support breeding populations of Glaucous-winged Gulls, Pelagic Cormorants, and Pigeon Guillemots, although not at nationally significant levels.

The waters surrounding the Kerouard and St. James Islands are an important feeding area for marine birds. During surveys of the seabird colonies, continuous streams of 1000's of Sooty Shearwaters were seen flying between the islets. Bald Eagles frequent the islets as well.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kerouard and St. James Islands. Downloaded from on 02/02/2023.