email a friend
printable version
Location Canada, Québec
Central coordinates 63o 34.77' West  50o 12.06' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 32,000 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description This site encompasses the waters of the Mingan Islands archipelago. The limestone shoreline here has been eroded by wind and water into islands, arches, grottos and naturally sculpted limestone structures known as monoliths. The Mingan archipelago includes a string of 40 islands and more than 800 islets adjacent to the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence near Havre-Saint-Pierre in Quebec (some of which are separate IBAs). Many of these islands are within the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, which extends for 175 km and encompasses 105 km2.

Key Biodiversity The marine areas of the Mingan archipelago support significant concentrations of wintering Common Eiders. Visual aerial estimates of up to 60,000 Common Eiders were made here during the winter of 1997. This represents at least 8% of the North American Common Eider population.

Eiders breeding along the Labrador coast and Ungava Bay (ssp. borealis) migrate down to the North Shore of the Gulf of St Lawrence for the winter, and concentrate around the Mingan Islands, and other areas, between January and March. Although it is believed that the majority of these birds are from the borealis population, it is likely that some are from the Atlantic (spp. dresseri) population as well. Common Eiders that breed on the Mingan archipelago in summer are of this latter subspecies.

Oldsquaw are abundant in the winter, although precise numbers are not known. King Eider, Harlequin Duck and Barrow’s Goldeneye are also seen at this time of year.

Two hundred species of birds spend at least part of the year around these islands. Many seabirds breed on these islands; the most important bird colonies are separate IBAs.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Common Eider Somateria mollissima winter  1997  60,000 individuals  A4i  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1997  50,000-99,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Batture de l'Île à Gazon Wildlife Habitat, Waterfowl Gathering Area 653 protected area overlaps with site 350  
Batture de la Pointe du Curé Wildlife Habitat, Waterfowl Gathering Area 771 protected area overlaps with site 13  
Batture de la Riviere Mingan Wildlife Habitat, Waterfowl Gathering Area 584 protected area overlaps with site 360  
Batture Est de la Riviere Romaine Wildlife Habitat, Waterfowl Gathering Area 1,281 protected area overlaps with site 410  
Batture Mingan Ouest Wildlife Habitat, Waterfowl Gathering Area 297 protected area overlaps with site 160  
Mingan Salmon River - Quebec 4,592 protected area overlaps with site 120  
Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve 15,070 protected area overlaps with site 19  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Sea Open sea  100%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research major
fisheries/aquaculture -
urban/industrial/transport -

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Eaux de l'archipel de Mingan. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife