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Location Canada, Québec
Central coordinates 70o 47.98' West  47o 4.06' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 4,300 ha
Altitude 0 - 370m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description Cap Tourmente is located on the north shore of the St Lawrence River approximately 55 km downstream from Québec City. Within the site there are four main habitat types: intertidal marsh, coastal marsh, coastal plain, and a mixed-forest plateau. The Cap Tourmente intertidal marsh, which is especially significant for staging Snow Geese, is part of the vast bulrush marshes that have developed along the North Channel of Ile d?Orléans, and Montmagny Islands in the St Lawrence River. In all, these marshes occupy 2,500 ha and include close to 60% of all the bulrush marshes in Québec.

The heterogeneous habitats within the Cap Tourmente site support a diverse vascular plant community with nearly 700 species having been identified. Several of these plant species are rare in both Quebec and Canada with Cap Tourmente representing the northernmost recorded site for several of these species.

Key Biodiversity During spring migration, Cap Tourmente hosts practically the entire population of the Greater Snow Goose (ssp. atlanticus). A significant proportion also stages here during the fall migration as well. At the turn of the century fewer than 3,000 individuals remained. The population has since expanded: a recent spring survey (1996) estimated a population of about 585,100. At the peak of migration more than 50,000 Greater Snow Geese can be observed daily on the Cap Tourmente mud flats and marshes. During recent years, the geese have started to expand their staging area. Lake Saint-Pierre and northern Lake Champlain to the southwest have become increasingly significant sites, especially during the spring.

In addition to Greater Snow Geese, thousands of ducks also stop over at Cap Tourmente in the fall. However, none of these species occur in nationally significant numbers.

A variety of waterfowl species are also present in the lowlands during the nesting season with some of the more common ones including: American Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler and Wood Duck. Numerous land birds are also present, including the nationally endangered anatum subspecies of the Peregrine Falcon. In all, more than 250 bird species have been identified at Cap Tourmente.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
American Black Duck Anas rubripes unknown  1996  7,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds non-breeding  1996  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Cap Brule Ouest Wildlife Habitat, Waterfowl Gathering Area 443 protected area overlaps with site 270  
Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area 2,399 protected area contained by site 2,800  
Cap Tourmente Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,398 protected area overlaps with site 2,600  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Steppe & dry calcareous grassland  -
Wetlands (inland) Salt/brackish marshes  -

Land use

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Cap Tourmente. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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