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Location Canada, Québec
Central coordinates 68o 53.36' West  48o 24.93' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 480 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description Île Bicquette is located along the south shore of the St. Lawrence estuary in Quebec, 7.7 km off Cap-à-l’Orignal (a spit of land that extends from Le Bic Provincial Park). The larger Île du Bic island lies one kilometre to the southeast. Île Bicquette is composed of shale, and is surrounded by two little grassy islets and several rocky reefs. A large lighthouse, surrounded by the keeper’s residence, is located on the western part of the main island. Approximately 75% of the island is covered by forests, with the dominant tree species being Balsam Fir. The forests have been described as dense and “over-mature” with little sign of regeneration in the sapling layer.

Key Biodiversity Île Bicquette supports the largest colony of Common Eiders in Canada. A peak count of 14,925 pairs was recorded in 1992, while the average for all five years (1991 to 1995) was 10,811 pairs. It should be noted that for three of these years (1991, 1993 and 1995) surveys were conducted by two different groups. Their numbers varied so, for those years, an average was calculated, and that average was used to calculate the five-year average. This colony represents about 5% of the North American population, and as much as 12.5% of the estimated Atlantic North American (ssp. dresseri) population. The average density of Common Eider nests on this island is exceedingly high at 813 nests per hectare.

An aerial survey of seaducks conducted in the St. Lawrence River in May 1995 recorded 6242 Commmon Eiders in the waters between St. Fabien and Pointe-au-Père. The vast majority of these birds were within 100 m of Île Bicquette and were clearly birds from this colony. In addition to Common Eiders, Herring Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, and Double-crested Cormorants and some landbird species have nested on the island.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Common Eider Somateria mollissima breeding  1995  10,000 breeding pairs  unknown  A4i  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  1995  10,000-19,999 breeding pairs  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Îles de l'estuaire National Wildlife Area 409 protected area contained by site 11  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Temperate coniferous forest; Temperate deciduous woods  75%
Wetlands (inland) Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats  10%
Sea Sea inlets  -
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  5%
Other   10%

Land use

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

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

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