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Location Canada, Québec
Central coordinates 64o 9.80' West  48o 29.69' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4ii, A4iii
Area 2,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 135m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description Bonaventure Island is located on the Gulf of St Lawrence approximately 3.5 km from the shore of the Gaspé Peninsula. The 416 ha island is roughly circular in shape with cliffs on the southeastern and northeastern shores rising to a height of approximately 75 m. The island lies within the Atlantic Highlands biome with balsam fir and spruce being dominant species. The cliffs and shorelines are generally devoid of vegetation with the exception of some arctic / alpine species that are able to withstand the harsh microclimate. Thus far, 572 vascular plant species have been recorded on the island, including eight that are rare in the province of Quebec and five that are provincially vulnerable or threatened.

Key Biodiversity Bonaventure Island is renowned for its Northern Gannet colony. In 1994, over 32,000 breeding pairs were observed making it the largest colony in North America. Using population estimates from the late 1980s, there may be as much as 9% of the global population and approximately 50% of the North American population present at Bonaventure Island during the breeding season.

In addition to Northern Gannets, equally impressive numbers of Black-legged Kittiwakes and Common Murres also nest on the cliffs. In 1989, over 23,000 pairs of Black-legged Kittiwakes were recorded, representing as much as 9 to 12% of the western Atlantic population. In the same year, almost 28,000 pairs of Common Murre were recorded. This represents approximately 5% of the eastern North American Common Murre population. The island is clearly of global significance for nesting colonial seabirds.

Other seabirds nesting on the island include Double-crested Cormorant, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Black Guillemot, Razorbill, Atlantic Puffin, and Leach's Storm-Petrel. In all, ten different seabird species nest on the island. During the summer and early fall Harlequin Ducks from the eastern population (nationally endangered) concentrate around both the island and Percé Rock. Numbers observed have been as high as 118 individuals (early September 1989).

In addition to seabirds, the island supports a typical community of boreal forest birds (Blackpoll Warbler, Boreal Chickadee etc.) and other habitat generalists in the abandoned fields. As of 1985, 218 bird species had been observed within the park.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus breeding  1999  37,000 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Larus argentatus unknown  1978  10,000 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  50,000-99,999 breeding pairs  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Île Bonaventure Faunal Habitat 78 protected area contained by site 79  
Île Bonaventure et du Rocher Percé Migratory Bird Sanctuary 1,360 protected area overlaps with site 980  
Île Bonaventure et du Rocher Percé Provincial Park 580 protected area overlaps with site 980  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Temperate coniferous forest  -
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research major
tourism/recreation major

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Bonaventure Island. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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