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Location Canada, Québec
Central coordinates 61o 41.68' West  47o 28.83' North
IBA criteria A4i
Area 340 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description Île Shag is located about 1 km east of the southern part of the Île du Havre aux Maisons? South Dune in the Magdalen Islands archipelago. It is a small island with a flat top, and cliffs that rise from the water?s edge. Vegetation is restricted to short grasses and other herbaceous plants. The cliffs, which are comprised of red sandstone, are irregularly shaped as a result of wind and tidal erosion. The mean annual temperature is 4.4?C, and the wind speed during summer averages about 27 km/h. The maximum tide level is about 1 metre. Access to Île Shag is possible with a small motor boat, but landing is difficult.

Key Biodiversity Île Shag supports one of the largest colonies of Great Cormorants in Québec. A total of 247 nests was recorded during the last survey, which was completed in 1990. This represents almost 4% of the estimated North American Great Cormorant population. The colony on Île Shag has been in existence for quite some time, with an estimate of at least 200 pairs in 1976, and 40 pairs in 1972. In addition to Great Cormorants, 148 pairs of Black-legged Kittiwakes were also recorded during the surveys completed in 1990. Small numbers of Black Guillemots and Great Black-backed Gulls also nest around the shores of the island.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo breeding  1990  247 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ile Shag (Havre-aux-Maisons) Faunal Habitat 1 protected area contained by site 1  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Steppe & dry calcareous grassland  5%
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  95%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
not utilised major

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Île Shag. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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