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Location Canada, Québec
Central coordinates 69o 28.73' West  48o 19.01' North
IBA criteria A4i
Area 34,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 3m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description This site stretches along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, from the village of Grandes Bergeronnes to the mudflats just past Les Escoumins at Pointe du Moulin. The shore is generally rocky except at Baie des Escoumins, where there are extensive mudflats that up to a kilometre wide during very low tides. Several small islands are situated close to Les Escoumins. They include Ilets Boisés, and Petite and Grande Caye à Brisson. The Rochers Bare and Ilot des Bergeronnes are farther to the west. Four ‘at risk’ species of whales frequent these waters.

Key Biodiversity This site hosts congregations of many waterbirds. Seven species have been reported in significant numbers. Brant migrate through the area in large numbers during spring migration, with a maximum count of 5,500 birds recorded in 1986. This is 4% of the Atlantic bernicla population or over 1% of the North American population. Three species of duck congregate here in significant numbers in different seasons. American Black Ducks can be present in globally significant numbers. Up to 5,000 have been seen in the fall, and 3,200 in the winter - both numbers are over 1% of their total population. Barrow’s Goldeneyes are sometimes seen in continentally significant numbers, such in the winter of 1978 when 60 were counted (almost 2% of the eastern population). Although small numbers of Common Eiders (subspecies dresseri) breed on the Rochers Bare, much larger numbers have been recorded in the area in the summer. In July 1996, 2,500 birds or 2% of the dresseri population were counted.

This location hosts up to 10,000 gulls in the fall. A large proportion of these birds are Herring Gulls, for instance in 1980, 8,000 Herring Gulls were recorded (about 3% of the North American population), and it is one of the best sites in Quebec to witness fall migrations of Bonaparte’s Gull. In winter up to 1,250 Iceland Gulls (6% of the global population) and 300 Glaucous Gulls have been recorded (1.5% of the North American population).

Fall shorebirds are common in the Baie des Escoumins; the most regularly seen are Sanderling (500 in 1978), Semipalmated Sandpiper (300 in 1979), Semipalmated Plover (300 in 1996), Black-bellied Plover (100 in 1985) and Least Sandpiper (100 in 1977).

A few thousand Canada Geese and Snow Geese are usually seen in the spring, and Common Goldeneyes, Oldsquaws and Surf Scoters, are common along this piece of coast in various seasons. Finally, in addition to the eiders, five other species breed in the Baie des Escoumins in small numbers – these are Great Black-backed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron and Black-crowned Night-Heron. In 1995, 823 pairs of Herring Gulls were counted in several variably-sized colonies.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Brent Goose Branta bernicla unknown  1994  4,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus unknown  1984  2,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides unknown  1984  1,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Anse a la Cave Wildlife Habitat, Waterfowl Gathering Area 649 protected area contained by site 660  
Baie Bon Desir Wildlife Habitat, Waterfowl Gathering Area 896 protected area contained by site 910  
Escoumins, des Salmon River - Quebec 2,239 protected area overlaps with site 290  
Riv.Petits Escoumins-Riv. Petite Ro Wildlife Habitat, Waterfowl Gathering Area 1,525 protected area overlaps with site 320  
Saguenay - Saint Lawrence National Marine Conservation Area 113,800 protected area overlaps with site 1,500  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats; Salt/brackish marshes  -
Sea Open sea  -
Coastline Cliffs, rocky shores, islets, freshwater; Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -

Land use

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Baie des Escoumins et Grandes-Bergeronnes. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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