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Location Canada, Nova Scotia
Central coordinates 65o 35.97' West  43o 25.86' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 3,500 ha
Altitude 0 - 20m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description Cape Sable Island is the southernmost accessible point of Nova Scotia. It is a large, fairly flat and often foggy island with roads frequently situated close to the shoreline. Sand beaches, extensive mud flats, and salt marshes are the predominant shoreline habitat types. Inland on acidic soils are alder thickets, and low forests containing Black Spruce and several heath plants, as well as residential gardens. Sheep grazing commonly occurs inland. The IBA covers most of the island, south of a line from the town of Centreville to Bulls Head.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Brent Goose Branta bernicla passage  1998  4,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus passage  1997  3,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla passage  1993  250,000 individuals  A4i  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  1993-1998  100,000-499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Baker Inlet Operational Parks and Reserves 1 protected area contained by site 1  
Bulls Head Operational Parks and Reserves 3 protected area contained by site 3  
The Hawk Protected Beach 4 protected area contained by site 5  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Temperate mixed woods  -
Shrubland Scrub  -
Wetlands (inland) Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats; Salt/brackish marshes; Sand dunes and beaches  -
Sea Open sea; Sea inlets  -
Artificial - terrestrial Urban and industrial areas; Urban parks and gardens  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture major
hunting minor

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Eastern Cape Sable Island. Downloaded from on 30/10/2014

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