Newfoundland is the world's sixteenth largest island at a latitude south of Paris, France. The arctic waters of the Labrador Current that flows along its northern shore dominate the climate. In the southern areas the warmer water of the Gulf Stream have more influence and winters can be surprisingly mild. At the confluence of the two currents over the Grand Banks of Newfoundland fog is common. The mineral rich waters support abundant marine life and a large varied population of marine birds.
Around 40 million seabirds visit the plankton rich waters of Newfoundland every year. During the winter months the ice-free waters of the Newfoundland South Coast provide over-wintering habitat for millions of arctic birds. In spring these populations migrate north to their breeding sites and are replaced by millions of birds that have over-wintered offshore on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. They are soon joined by migrants from southern latitudes and, in the case of the Arctic Terns, from the southern hemisphere. By May these millions of birds are busily engaged in breeding and nesting in hundreds of sites along the coast.
Just about every small island and cliff face has a colony of nesting birds. The most important have been given Ecological Reserve status.
Newfoundland is also home to the largest population of Bald Eagles in Eastern North America.
Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve
Cape St. Mary is another Ecological Reserve on the southern Avalon Peninsula; it has a spectacular population of nesting Gannets plus a variety of other species.
Witless Bay Ecological Reserve
The Witless Bay Ecological Reserve near St. John's comprises three islands: Great, Gull and Green. This reserve contains the largest Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) colony in North America. Green Island contains North America's second largest colony of common murres.
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 405
Of which, 112 are rare and 79 are very rare as defined below. Two were introduced to North America. One species is possibly extinct.
Provincial Bird - Atlantic Puffin Fraterculus arctica
Checklist of the Birds of Newfoundland
This checklist contains all of the 404 species currently recorded on the island of Newfoundland. For some of the rarest species, click to get record details.
Birding in Atlantic Canada: Newfoundland
By R Burrows | Jesperson Press | 1989 | Paperback | 175 pages, B/w illus, maps |
ISBN: 0920502911Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birds of Newfoundland
By Ian Warkentin, Sandy Newton, Roger Tory Peterson, John A Crosby & Ralph Jarvis | Boulder Publications | 2009 | Paperback | 237 pages, 32 plates with colour illustrations; colour illustrations, 1 colour map |
ISBN: 9780980914429Buy this book from NHBS.com
Newfoundland Birds: Exploitation, Study, Conservation
by William A Montevecchi & Leslie M. Tuck | Nuttall Ornithological Club | 1987 | Hardback | 273 pages, 40 b/w illustrations and b/w maps, 23 tables |
ISBN: 9997639995Buy this book from NHBS.com
Nature Newfoundland & Labrador
The Natural History Society is a province-wide organization with a primary interest in promoting the enjoyment and protection of all wildlife and natural history resources in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and surrounding waters. At the moment, the Society has chapters, centered at Comer Brook and St. John's and we are affiliated with the Canadian Nature Federation.
ER Baccalieu Island Seabird Sanctuary
Baccalieu Island Seabird Ecological Reserve contains Baccalieu Island located off the tip of the north west Avalon Peninsula near the town of Bay de Verde…
ER Cape St Mary's Seabird Sanctuary
Cape St. Mary's is a seabird sanctuary with the largest nesting colony of gannets in Newfoundland and the third largest in North America. Also, there are Black-legged Kittiwakes, Atlantic Murres, and Northern Razorbills. There are interpreters on duty to assist any of your needs. The vantage point overlooks magnificent sea stacks and offers an opportunity to photograph the seabirds…
ER Funk Island
There are two large rock bunkers which lie off the southwest side of the island. The two bunkers are washed over by the sea, and provide roosting but not nesting areas for many of the seabirds, particularly the gannets. The island and the bunkers make up what is known as the "Funks."
ER Gannet Islands
The reserve is home to the largest razorbill colony in North America and the third largest breeding colony of Atlantic puffins.
ER Witless Bay
Thousands of seabirds soaring, nesting, feeding … a cacophony of sound, crashing waves, refreshing ocean breezes, and spectacular scenery … all this and more is yours to experience at Witless Bay Seabird Ecological Reserve…
List of protected areas of Newfoundland and Labrador
This is a list of protected areas of Newfoundland and Labrador.
NP Gros Morne
This park, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, is an area of great natural beauty with a rich variety of scenery, widlife, and recreational activities. Visitors can hike through wild, uninhabited mountains and camp by the sea. Boat tours bring visitors under the towering cliffs of a freshwater fjord carved out by glaciers. Waterfalls, marine inlets, sea stacks, sandy beaches, and colourful nearby fishing villages complete the phenomenal natural and cultural surroundings of Gros Morne National Park of Canada.
NP Mealy Mountains
Once established, it will be the largest national park in eastern Canada. It is inhabited by a variety of wildlife, including the threatened Mealy Mountains woodland caribou herd. Other mammals that inhabit this park reserve are wolf packs, black bear, marten and two species of fox.
NP Terra Nova
Inland areas consist of rolling forested hills, exposed rock faces, and bogs, ponds and wetlands. Wildlife protected by the park range from small to large land mammals, migratory birds, and various marine life.
NP Torngat Mountains
This park protects wildlife (caribou, black bears, wolf packs, two species of fox, polar bears, peregrine falcon, and golden eagle among others).
Forums & Mailing Lists
Guides & Tour Operators
Newfoundland & Nova Scotia - Boreal specialties, seabird colonies & numerous breeding landbirds in the beautiful Canadian Maritimes…
Guide - Dave Brown
I'm 32 and recently spend nearly all of my time, birding, photographing birds or reading about and studying birds online. I'm currently working as a professional bird guide, based out of St. John's. Contact me via email to organize a private or group day trip. I offer a selection of day trips around St .John's and the Avalon Peninsula. My primary focus in the winter months are gulls and seabirds, although, my trips are customizable to suit your needs…
Newfoundland and Labrador offers some of the best seabird watching on the Atlantic ocean. Our province is home to dozens of seabirds and 95% of the worlds breeding pairs of Atlantic Puffin. Other common species include gannets, shearwaters, and murres…
Of all the wonderful places to go bird-watching in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Codroy Valley tops the list for the number of different species and for rarities and unusual birds. The diverse lush and fertile habitats of the Codroy River Valley provide shelter, feeding, staging and nesting grounds for a wealth of waterfowl, waders and warblers as well as many other species. Breeding, migrant, vagrant and wintering surprises await your discovery during every day and season of the year…
The Cape Shore Tours
Cape St Mary's, Baccalieu Island, and Witless Bay Seabird Ecological Reserves Nature and History Tour…
Newfoundland & Nova Scotia with Kim Eckert & Marshall Iliff July 7 - July 17, 2004
Travel with Wildland Tours, and let our experienced local hosts introduce you to England’s oldest colony and Canada’s youngest province. Share the history, open spaces, warmth of our people, and special spirituality of our landscapes Here we still have eagles and osprey soaring in a clear sky. We have places where the land appears to move, but it’s really the backs of the world’s largest caribou herd…
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2009 [12 December] - Dave Brown - Southern Avalon Peninsula
I ran a mini tour on the southern Avalon Peninsula. The weather was truly exceptional with temperatures above zero and sunny conditions all day…
2009 [12 December] - Dave Brown - Winter Birding
In the darkness of night and a steady, thick, snow, I rolled into the Dominion Parking lot at 6:00 am this morning to meet my 5 guests for my Winter on the Avalon Birding Tour…
2009 [12 December] - Dave Brown - Winter Birds of St Johns
I met with a Dan Kaspar from Texas today to search for the NL specialties. At first, one might wonder why someone would travel from bird rich Texas to bird in NL in December. Why they get more species on a good Xmas count than we do in a big year…
2012 [07 July] - Chris Benesh - Newfoundland & Nova Scotia
…The stretch of the Glen Elg-Waternish road we covered was also quite enjoyable, complete with some stunning Evening Grosbeaks. Finally, on our way to Halifax, we made a final stop to pick up the Acadian subspecies of Nelson's Sparrow. A great way to wrap up our visit to northeastern Canada…
2013 [07 July] - Chris Benesh & Lena Senko - Newfoundland & Nova Scotia
…Newfoundland’s plankton-rich waters attract around 40 million seabirds each year, and in the summer, almost every small island and cliff face is populated by a colony of ocean-loving nesters. Our first taste of seabird spectacles came on a boat tour in Witless Bay. The swarms of Atlantic Puffins, Common Murres, Razorbills, and Black-legged Kittiwakes flying to and from their island nests by the thousands sent our heads spinning. We were able to pick out a few Thick-billed Murres and Northern Fulmars on their nests, while enjoying close looks at several Humpback and Minke Whales. Later, at Cape St. Mary’s, we gawked at the spectacular sight of 50,000+ nesting Northern Gannets…
2013 [07 July] - Robert Tuveson - Newfoundland & Nova Scotia
…Being keen ABA-twitchers we wanted to go there in the summertime for a load of speciality birds, i.e. breeding species like Roseate Tern, Black-headed Gull and Bicknell’s Thrush, alcids like Razorbill, Black Guillemot and Atlantic Puffin and seabirds like Great- and Manx Shearwater and Wilson’s- and Leach’s Storm- Petrel…
2015 [07 July] - Chris Benesh - Newfoundland & Nova Scotia
The 2015 Newfoundland & Nova Scotia got off to a bit of rocky start with summer showers making us keep rain jackets and umbrellas close at hand. Yet, despite that, we had a terrific boat trip out into Witless Bay where we witnessed one of nature's greatest spectacles. The many thousands of murres, puffins, razorbills, and kittiwakes swarming around Gull Island comprise a sight that leaves one speechless. And it was a terrific start to our adventure.
2016 [07 July] - Chris Benesh & Doug Gochfeld - Newfoundland & Nova Scotia
...We started out by birding around picturesque St. John’s for the first morning, going to the top of Signal Hill for a bird's eye view of the harbor and a taste of the landscape we would enjoy for the next 10 days. We made a couple of productive birding stops as we made our way down to Cape Spear (the easternmost point in Canada), seeing our first Pine Grosbeaks and the endemic Type 8 Red Crossbill. From Cape Spear, we headed south towards Bay Bulls, and one of the main highlights of the trip, the boat trip to the Witless Bay Ecological Preserve. As we got out to offshore waters, we encountered fog, though the growing numbers of alcids, a Sooty Shearwater, and views of at least one Humpback Whale buoyed everyone’s mood as we approached the breeding islands through the mist....
2017 [07 July] - Chris Benesh - Newfoundland & Nova Scotia
Summer in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia: seafood, puffins, gorgeous vistas, breeding warblers, and, of course, lots of gannets… this tour had it all! Chris and I were happy to share the above perks with a fun bunch of birders for another successful tour of a few of Canada’s finest Atlantic provinces.
2017 [07 July] - Peg Abbot - Newfoundland & Labrador Cruise
... Peg met with those that wanted to for breakfast, and a walk by the seawall close to the hotel. We saw our few first birds: Song Sparrows, a Swamp Sparrow, Yellow Warbler, and a couple of Red-eyed Vireos...
2018 [07 July] - Greg Smith
For those inclined, we started the morning with a stroll along the waterfront, with bird action relatively minimal. Black-backed and Herring Gulls, a few Double-crested Cormorant, American Black Duck, and Blue Jay were regulars, while American Crows ate pizza along the esplanade.
Places to Stay
Burgeo Haven B&B
Burgeo Haven is a Historic home of former Fish Merchants, situated on the waterfront in a quiet fishing community of Burgeo…
White Sails Inn & Cottages
The Eastport Peninsula is a haven for birdwatchers. Of the 378 Species that have been recorded in Newfoundland, many are found locally. Owls, Bald Eagles and a wide variety of Boreal Forest Birds. Occasionally, rare birds such as the Eurasian Oystercatcher, and the Common Redshank have been sighted on the Peninsula…
Alvan Buckley - Birding With Alvan
Following the passage of migration in the far Northeast - Alvan Buckley has been birding in the provinces of Newfoundland, Ontario and Quebec in Canada since 2008…
Brad Brendan - Newfoundland Nature Projects
Photography, hiking, conservation, wildlife... Last updated June 2015
Bruce Mactavish - Newfoundland Birding Blog
Bruce Mactavish has been an avid birdwatcher in Newfoundland since 1976…
Dave Brown - Birding Newfoundland
An account of birding in Newfoundland. Updated daily with sightings, trip reports and various other topics related to birds and birding in Newfoundland…
Jared Clarke - Bird The Rock
I was leading an Eagle-Eye Tours trip in Ontario (Point Pelee, Rondeau, Long Point & Algonquin) when I first heard the news … a brilliant adult PURPLE GALLINULE was discovered roaming on the Waterford River in St. John’s – just minutes from my house!!
Lisa De Leon - Birding
Articles, images and gateway to information about birding in Newfoundland….
Birds of Newfoundland and Labrador
The province of Newfoundland and Labrador consists of the island of Newfoundland, mainland Labrador and over seven thousand small islands. The province’s total area is 405,720 square kilometres…
Newfoundland and Labrador Birdwatching
With over 350 species of birds, there's no question Newfoundland and Labrador is a major destination for birdwatching. Whether it's by land or sea, you can get up close and personal to millions of seabirds, rare birds, and birds of prey. Between the boat tours and kayaking tours, the ecological reserves and the many hiking trails, there's a bird around every turn…