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Location Canada, Québec
Central coordinates 61o 41.96' West  49o 9.06' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 5,300 ha
Altitude 0 - 100m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description A large intertidal marsh is situated along the south shore of the estuary and covers more than 24 km of shoreline. The width of the intertidal zone varies with the tides, from a minimum of 2 km to a maximum width of 4.5 km. Most the site is regularly flooded but there is a dyke that protects cultivated fields from higher tides and salt water. These fields and the nearby islands are not within the boundaries of the site. The intertidal zone contains abundant algae and other marine life, whereas the marshes contain several spartina species.

Key Biodiversity The Falaise aux Goélands/Pointe de L’Est cliff site supports globally significant concentrations of both kittiwakes and cormorants. In total, 24,561 pairs of Black-legged Kittiwakes, representing approximately 4% of the North American population or 9% of the estimated western Atlantic population, were recorded at the cliffs; 1,061 of these pairs were at Pointe de L’Est. In 1963, 125 Great Cormorants (roughly 1% of the estimated North American population) were detected breeding at Falaise aux Goélands. Current numbers are not known for this cliff. They were formally present at Pointe de L’Est, but have not bred there since 1940, when 92 individuals were recorded.

Common Murres and Northern Gannets have been documented at this site since 1937. In 1940, 220 Common Murre were counted but none, however, have been recorded since. In 1994, 200 pairs of Northern Gannets were recorded by the Canadian Wildlife Service at Falaise aux Goélands. A similar number of 250 pairs were surveyed in 1937, suggesting a fairly stable population. Three Atlantic Puffins were recorded in 1963. Also, the area is frequented year-round by Bald Eagles. In 1995, seven were counted and in 1997 a pair was nesting in a bog nearby.

Out on the sea, large rafts of Common Eiders winter within view of these cliffs. When eider numbers from here and Anticosti’s south side are added together, totals reach between 20,000 and 50,000.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo breeding  1963  125 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla breeding  1985  24,561 breeding pairs  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  1985  20,000-49,999 breeding pairs  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Cap aux Goélands, Pointe Heath Wildlife Habitat, Waterfowl Gathering Area 1,422 protected area overlaps with site 640  
Pointe de l'Est Faunal Habitat 111,923 protected area overlaps with site 1,900  
Pointe-Heath Ecological Reserve 1,814 protected area overlaps with site 290  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Sea Open sea  -
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  100%

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: Falaise aux Goélands and pointe de l’Est. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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