Tabusintac Lagoon and River Estuary

Country/territory: Canada

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

Area: 4,400 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description (baseline)
The Tabusintac lagoon and River Estuary is located on the Acadian Peninsula (NE New Brunswick) approximately 50 km northeast of Chatham, New Brunswick. The 4,382 ha site contains a variety of habitats including estuarine flats, salt marsh, sand dunes and beaches, saline ponds, inshore islands and shoreline black spruce - jack pine forests. The inner bay is protected from the sea by a 15 km long barrier beach and dune system. Within this protected area extensive eel grass beds are found which contribute to the overall productivity of the system, especially for waterfowl. It is typical of other beaches in the region with the dominant plant species being marram grass, beach pea and sea rocket.

Key biodiversity
The Tabusintac beach system is an important breeding site for the globally vulnerable, and nationally endangered Piping Plover. In 1996, 5 pairs were found nesting, along with 2 additional birds. This represented almost 3% of the 1996 Canadian Maritimes population and is thus of national significance. Six pairs were present in 1997. The site has a long history of Piping Plover usage with the average number of individual plovers over the last ten years being 14.5.

In addition to Piping Plovers, the Tabusintac beach system is also extremely important for Common Terns. It supports the second largest colony of common terns in Atlantic Canada. In 1992, 3,700 pairs were recorded and in recent years the population has increased (a recent estimate has not been completed). The 1992 estimate comprises approximately 7.4% of the North American population and is thus of international significance.

The area also has high levels of waterfowl use during spring and fall migration with flocks in excess of 1,000 individuals being present regularly. Waterfowl species often occurring at the site include American Black Duck, Canada Goose, teal, scaup, and Red-breasted Mergansers.

Other ornithological information of note includes a large Great Blue Heron colony in the Covedell Peninsula area, and numerous Osprey nests in the uplands of the Tabusintac Black Lands. Populations of both these species may have declined somewhat in recent years.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Tabusintac Lagoon and River Estuary. Downloaded from on 31/05/2023.