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Location Canada, Québec
Central coordinates 61o 57.39' West  47o 17.73' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 2,500 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description The Havre aux Basques lagoon is located between the islands of Cap aux Meules and Havre-Aubert in the Magdalen Islands archipelago. These two islands, nearly 11km apart, are interconnected by two nearly parallel sand dunes. The southern section of the Havre aux Basques lagoon is characterized by open water, while the northern section is comprised of a network of canals surrounding sandy inlets, and salt meadow-marsh prairies. In 1956, the construction of a provincial road along the east side of the lagoon resulted in the closure of two of the three openings from the lagoon to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Since the closure of these openings, there has been a noticeable increase in sand deposition and a reduction in the average tide level within the lagoon. The sand dune and associated beach along the west side of the lagoon is generally referred to as Plage de l’Ouest. Plages de la Martinique et de Havre-Aubert, on the east side have been identified as a separate IBA.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus passage  1985  7,619 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus unknown  1988  1,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus breeding  1991  6 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  1973  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats; Saline/alkaline lakes; Salt/brackish marshes; Sand dunes and beaches  100%

Land use

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lagune du Havre aux Basques et plage de l'Ouest. Downloaded from on 18/09/2014

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