Primrose Lake

Country/territory: Canada

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

Area: 45,000 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description
Primrose Lake is situated in northwest Saskatchewan, within the Primrose Lake Air Weapons Range (near the Alberta border). It is a large boreal forest lake that contains several islands. Of these islands, Backes supports a large number of nesting colonial water birds. The Primrose Lake area has a sub-arctic climate. The Calder River flows into the north end of Primrose Lake, and the Martineau River flows out of the south end. Surface runoff from the surrounding boreal plains drains into Primrose Lake.

Key biodiversity
Between 1976 and 1991 a total of 6 surveys were completed at Backes Island in Primrose Lake to record populations of American White Pelicans, and Double-crested Cormorants. Over this period, an average of 4,922 American White Pelicans was recorded, which represents about 5.6% of the worlds estimated population, and as much as 9.1% of the estimated Canadian population. Over this same period, the average number of Double-crested Cormorants was 714 pairs, which is just under 1% of the estimated interior North American population.

Common Terns and California Gulls are also found on Backes Island in large numbers. Between 100 and 400 Common Tern nests have been recorded; and between 500 and 2000 California Gull nests have been recorded; the latter number being of global significance.

Other colonial water birds that nest on Backes Island include Great Blue Herons (11 to < 30 nests), Ring-billed Gulls (20 to < 500 nests), and Herring Gulls (<50 nests).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Primrose Lake. Downloaded from on 29/11/2021.