Willow Ptarmigan Lagopus lagopus ©Don Getty
Birding The Yukon

The Yukon is a land of stunning scenery, productive ecosystems and truly remarkable wilderness. This extraordinary natural world is home to diverse communities of birds. A total of 284 species have been documented in the Yukon with breeding confirmed for 187 species. Diverse habitats include wetlands, expansive boreal forest, alpine and arctic tundra, and the marine waters of the North Coast. This natural mosaic, with its mix of southern and northern species makes the Yukon an attractive destination for birdwatchers and naturalists.

Many first time visitors are surprised to see southern species like Killdeer, American Robin, and Red-winged Blackbird. However, their first encounters with Pacific Loon, Northern Goshawk, Long-tailed Jaeger, Northern Wheatear, Willow Ptarmigan, Spruce Grouse, Arctic Tern, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, and the ever-present Common Raven reminds them that they have definitely arrived in the North.

The Yukon is a land of rich environments and pristine wilderness. The birds, wildlife and ecosystems are sensitive and must be observed and explored with respect. In this way, the Yukon will continue to reward us with unparalleled natural experiences.

  • Cameron Eckert

    | cameron.eckert@gov.yk.ca

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 328

    As at June 2018

    Provincial Bird - Raven Corvus Corax Principalis

Useful Reading

  • Birds of the Yukon Territory

    | Edited by Pamela H Sinclair, Wendy A Nixon, Nancy L Hughes & Cameron D Eckert | University of British Columbia | 2003 | Hardback | 596 pages, 600 colour photos, 223 b/w illustrations, 235 maps | ISBN: 9780774810128 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Yukon Bird Club

    The Yukon Bird Club is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to promoting awareness, appreciation, and conservation of Yukon birds and their habitats. Regular field trips led by skilled and enthusiastic birders explore some of the Yukon's best birding areas. Each winter an evening seminar series covers a wide range of interests including local research projects, bird identification, birding adventures and Yukon biodiversity. All are welcome at field trips and events! We are based in Whitehorse, Yukon, but have members from many communities throughout Yukon as well as some from further afield.

Abbreviations Key

  • MBS Old Crow Flats

    InformationSatellite View
    More than 100 bird species have been recorded on the Flats, including at least 21 species of waterfowl. The area is important as a breeding and moulting ground to some 500,000 waterfowl including ducks, swans, geese, three species of loon Gavia spp. and a variety of other waterbirds. Banding studies have shown these birds to be associated with all four North American Flyways. Waterfowl are more concentrated here than at other locations in the north.
  • NP Ivvavik

    InformationSatellite View
    The park protects a portion of the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd and represents the Northern Yukon and Mackenzie Delta natural regions.
  • NP Kluane

    InformationSatellite View
    This park, in the southwest corner of the Yukon, has Canada's highest peak, Mount Logan, and some of the most extensive icefields outside the polar region. The landscape includes mountain lakes, alpine meadows, tundra and swift cold rivers…
  • NP Vuntut

    InformationSatellite View
    Vuntut represents one of the Northern Yukon Natural Regions in Canada.
  • NWA Nisutlin River Delta

    WebpageSatellite View
    The Nisutlin River Delta National Wildlife Area (NWA) is southern Yukon's most important fall staging site for migratory waterbirds. This 5,483 hectares (ha) NWA includes the delta at the mouth of the Nisutlin River which is the most extensive inland freshwater delta in the Yukon. Thousands of ducks, geese, and swans feed along the delta each year, along with hundreds of shorebirds. The delta is particularly important for migrating waterbirds in the fall because suitable feeding areas in the region are limited by high water levels. The NWA also provides excellent habitat for moose, and habitat for some species assessed as Threatened or Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).
  • Yukon National Parks

    WebpageSatellite View
    Perhaps the most noteworthy of birds to live on Herschel is the colony of black guillemots, the largest in the Western Arctic. If you want to see the largest colony of black guillemots in the Western Arctic, visit the old Anglican mission house. They have taken over the abandoned building, nesting in the rafters. To keep their eggs from rolling away and to help preserve the historic structure, government biologists have built nest boxes on the roof for the birds…
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Nahanni River Tours

    Tour Operator
    For nearly two decades Neil Hartling and Barry Beales of Nahanni River Adventures and Whitewolf Expeditions have fine tuned the most extensive offerings of the best of the north. In 1997 the two companies joined together to capitalise on the strengths of each outfit. The resulting selection has been referred to as the life list of northern rivers - all must do's.
  • Northern Wildlife Safaris

    Tour Operator
    Northern Wildlife Safaris offers severall light hiking and vehicle based safaris to bring both professional and amateur wildlife photographers up close to some of the wild animals of the north…
Trip Reports

Click on WAND to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • 2007 [07 July] - Blake Maybank

    Since there are very few birding trip reports from the Yukon and area, I've decided to offer this fairly thorough account…
  • 2016 [09 September] - Stefan Schlick

    PDF Report
    The main goal for this birding trip was to learn calls and habitat for some of the northern breeders (including the eastern birds), better understand the range of some species and – of course – take in the scenery of the epic Canadian north. It was also very interesting to study subspecies (Junco, Fox Sparrow, Merlin, …) and to be in hybridization zones (sapsuckers).
Other Links
  • Birds of The Yukon

    The Yukon has a surprisingly long and rich history of bird watching despite it’s age and the small number of bird-lovers/naturalists who have been able call it home over the years.

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