Skookumchuck Prairie

Country/territory: Canada

IBA Criteria met: -
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 13,000 ha

Protection status:

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description
Skookumchuck Prairie is just south of the community of Skookumchuk, in the Rocky Mountain Trench of southeastern British Columbia. It is an area of native dry open grassland in a primarily forested region. The upper Kootenay River and Highway 93/95 run in a north and south direction through the site. Alfalfa is grown on a portion of the area, to the east of this highway. A history of fire suppression has caused groves of young Ponderosa Pine and Douglas-fir to grow where previously grassland occurred.

Key biodiversity
Skookumchuck Prairie holds a breeding population of Long-billed Curlews, a nationally vulnerable species. Surveys in the late 1980s, covering the majority of the site, determined that a minimum of 22 pairs bred here. The total population, which is thought to be stable, may be slightly larger than this. This site contains about 1% of the Canadian Long-billed Curlew population. Although curlews primarily breed and feed in the grasslands, they also sometimes feed on earthworms in alfalfa fields.

American Kestrel, Lewis' Woodpecker, Western Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird and Western Meadowlark are all notable breeding birds of the area.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Skookumchuck Prairie. Downloaded from on 26/09/2020.