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Location Canada, Québec
Central coordinates 61o 30.02' West  47o 47.23' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4ii
Area 1,700 ha
Altitude 0 - 60m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description Île Brion is located about 16 km north of the main complex of the Magdalen Island archipelago, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The island is about 7.5 km long and has a maximum width of 1.6 km. About 75% of it is forested: the remainder being comprised of salt and freshwater marshes, rocky shores, and sandy beaches. The rocky substrate is comprised of red and gray-green sandstone. The mean annual temperature is 4.4?C and, during the summer, the average wind speed is 27 km/h. Some have suggested that the island could be viewed as an ecological microcosm of the main Magdalen Islands, with all of the main habitats from the archipelago being found in a pristine condition.

Key Biodiversity Île Brion supports significant breeding populations of several seabird species. As many as 500 adult Great Cormorants were recorded at the site in 1989, with nest counts from aerial photographs yielding an estimate of 116 nesting pairs. This represents about 1.8% of the estimated North American nesting population. Also present are large numbers of Black-legged Kittiwakes, with estimates from the late 1980s ranging from 2,000 pairs to as high as 10,000 birds. In 1989, systematic counts from aerial photographs yielded an estimate of 2,879 pairs. This suggests the presence of about 1% of the estimated western Atlantic breeding population.

In addition to Great Cormorants and Black-legged Kittiwakes, substantial numbers of Great Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls also nest on the island. Several other colonial seabirds are also present in small numbers (Razorbill, Common Murre, Black Guillemot, Atlantic Puffin, Leach's Storm-Petrel, Common and Arctic Tern, Common Eider). Also of note is a small nesting population of Horned Grebes. There are also historic records of breeding Piping Plovers (1 pair in 1982), but none have been recorded more recently. In all, about 150 bird species have been observed on the island, of which 80 have been identified as breeding species.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus unknown  1966  5,740 individuals  A4ii  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo unknown  1994  370 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ile Brion, de l' Ecological Reserve 650 protected area contained by site 670  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Temperate coniferous forest  75%
Grassland Steppe & dry calcareous grassland  10%
Wetlands (inland) Salt/brackish marshes; Sand dunes and beaches  10%
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  5%

Land use

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

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

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