Lac La Biche

Country/territory: Canada

IBA criteria met: A4i (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 39,000 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description (baseline)
Lac La Biche is a large lake in central Alberta situated within the southern boreal forest region. It has numerous bays, and many rocky offshore islands. In some of the shallower areas protected by wind and wave action, extensive stands of emergent vegetation have formed. Coniferous and mixed forest surround the lake and are present on the larger islands. Typical tree species include White and Black Spruce, poplars and birch. In the eastern basin of the lake, a large island has been connected to the mainland by a causeway and a provincial park has been established (Sir Winston Churchill). The Lac La Biche area is valued by visitors for its excellent beaches and well-forested park.

Key biodiversity
The offshore islands and marshes of Lac La Biche support significant concentrations of several colonial waterbird species during the nesting season. In particular, large concentrations of nesting California Gulls have been recorded on some of the islands (over 2,000 nests about 1% of the world's estimated population), along with large concentrations of nesting Western Grebes in the emergent marshes (greater than 500 nests just over 1% of the world's estimated population).

Double-crested Cormorants are also present in large numbers with over 1,964 nests being recorded in 1998 (between 1987 and 1993, 600 to 1500 Double-crested Cormorants nested on a single island on an annual basis). Other colonial waterbirds include Herring Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Common Tern, Great Blue Heron, and American White Pelican. Outside of the nesting season, the lake supports relatively large numbers of several species including Eared Grebe (100 1,000), American White Pelican (50 500) and staging waterfowl (2,000 5,000).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Lac La Biche. Downloaded from on 01/06/2023.