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Northeast Ungava Bay (NU029)


Northeast Ungava Bay (NU029)

Ungava Bay, Nunavut

Latitude 59.581°N
Longitude 65.462°W
Altitude 0 - 20m
Area 544.05km²

Site Description

The Northeast Ungava Bay IBA encompasses three small archipelagos, containing about 589 islands. These archipelagos are located 80 km south of the abandoned community of Port Burwell, and are located to the south and north of Alluviaq Fiord. The islands are comprised primarily of granite-gneiss bedrock with a thin layer of soil covering sheltered areas. Where soil is present, tundra plant communities have developed with typical species such as crowberry, arctic willow, sedges, mosses, and lichens. Extensive ice scouring occurs around the perimeter of these islands as a result of the strong tides that occur within Ungava Bay (up to 14 to 16 m).


Northern Common Eiders (ssp. borealis) migrate to this area in late May as soon as the ice around the nesting islands has broken up. In early June they settle into colonies and begin nesting. An estimated 6,700 pairs were recorded on the three archipelagos of northeastern Ungava Bay in 1980. This results in an average of about 12.4 nests per island, and in total represents over 7% of the borealis subspecies' population. There is little recent information on breeding eiders breeding in the eastern Arctic, and no more recent population estimates exist for this colony.

Conservation Issues

Eiders are very vulnerable to disturbance during the breeding period, and will abandon the colony site if there is persistent disturbance. The isolation and small size of the islands at this site contribute to the establishment, protection, and success of the eider colonies that are located there. Local Inuit gather eggs from these colonies, but it is thought that this activity has little affect on the overall population. Pollution of the surrounding marine waters where the nesting birds forage could also threaten the colonies.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Common Eider
Number Year Season