Prince Leopold Island

Country/territory: Canada

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

Area: 32,000 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description
Prince Leopold Island is located approximately 13 km off the northeastern tip of Somerset Island at the junction of Prince Regent Inlet and Barrow Strait. The perimeter of the island is characterized by vertical cliffs of sandstone and limestone that rise in elevation 245 to 265 m above sea level. Other topographic features include scree slopes, numerous ledges where the seabirds nest, and gravel spits. The vegetation is sparse and characterized by mosses, lichens, grasses, and a few dwarf shrubs. Several Inuit archaeological sites are located on the island.

Key biodiversity
Prince Leopold Island supports a major seabird colony that includes the second largest breeding congregation of Northern Fulmars in Canada. Approximately 20% of the Canadian Northern Fulmar population, as much as 11% of the western Atlantic Black-legged Kittiwake population, over 1% of the north Atlantic Thick-billed Murre population, and over 1% of the global Black Guillemot population are found at Prince Leopold Island. Combined the total number of pairs of seabirds at this colony is almost 200,000 pairs.

Other species known to breed on the island include Atlantic Brant, Common Raven, Common Eider, Parasitic Jaeger, Glaucous Gull, and Snow Bunting. The seabirds generally occupy the site from early May to the end of September.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Prince Leopold Island. Downloaded from on 18/08/2022.