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Eaux de l'archipel de Mingan (QC159)


Eaux de l'archipel de Mingan (QC159)

Îles de Mingan, Québec

Latitude 50.232°N
Longitude 63.818°W
Altitude 0m
Area 323.97km²

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.


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.

Conservation Issues

Oil spills are prevalent in areas with heavy shipping traffic, and the St. Lawrence Seaway is one of the busiest waterways in North America. A large oil spill could have a devastating impact on waterbird populations in the Mingan Island Archipelago. Illegal poaching of eggs and adult birds was a problem in the past, but this activity has declined in recent years due to increased surveillance by park personnel. Disturbance by tour boats and other recreational boats remains a minor problem.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Common Eider
Number Year Season
33,445 - 42,0002002Winter
Red Knot
Number Year Season
460 - 6002021Fall
400 - 6102020Fall
370 - 4202018Fall
120 - 3582018Summer
140 - 9002017Fall
800 - 3,0002016Fall
500 - 7002016Summer
1,200 - 1,3002015Fall
250 - 7002015Summer
800 - 2,0002014Fall
1,600 - 1,8002014Summer
1,000 - 1,1002012Fall
500 - 1,1002012Summer
145 - 1,0002011Fall
220 - 9002011Summer
500 - 1,0002010Fall
350 - 1,2002010Summer
1,800 - 3,6702009Fall
370 - 3,5002009Summer
119 - 8002008Fall
1,100 - 1,3702008Summer
900 - 1,8002007Fall
120 - 8002007Summer
220 - 8752006Fall
110 - 1,2002006Summer
430 - 1,2882000Fall
Number Year Season