IBA Baccalieu Island
Red Head Cove, Newfoundland
Site Summary
NF003 Latitude
48.131° N
52.800° W
0 - 137 m
45.22 km²
tundra, coastal cliffs/rocky shores (marine)
Land Use:
Nature conservation and research, Tourism/recreation
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Disturbance, Hunting, Other increased mortality, Oil slicks
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Congregatory Species, Colonial Waterbirds/Seabird Concentrations
Conservation status: Ecological Reserve (provincial), IBA Conservation Plan written/being written
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Site Description
Baccalieu Island is located 5.5 km off the northern tip of the Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland. It is characterized by rugged topography, with cliffs rising over 100 metres from sea level to a maximum elevation of 137 metres. The vegetation community is dominated by heath, with large areas of grassy turf and patches of old growth black spruce and balsam fir forests.
Baccalieu Island hosts a globally significant breeding population of Leachs Storm-Petrel. Approximately 3.4 million breeding pairs have been estimated, which represents approximately 40% of the global population and about 70% of the western Atlantic population of this species. Baccalieu Island supports the largest Leach's Storm-Petrel colony in Canada, the largest known colony in the world.

The island also supports continentally and globally significant populations of Atlantic Puffin (45,000 pairs - approximately 12% of the eastern North America population); Black-legged Kittiwake (~13,000 - approximately 5 to 7% of the western Atlantic breeding population); and Northern Gannet (677 pairs - approximately 1.5% of the North American population). The island has the greatest abundance and species diversity of seabirds in eastern North America. Other seabirds nesting on the island include Common Murre, Thick-billed Murre, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Northern Fulmar, Herring Gull and Great Black-backed Gull.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Atlantic Puffin 1984 - 1995 SU 60,000 - 90,000
Black-legged Kittiwake 1984 SU 25,950
Leach's Storm-Petrel 1984 SU 6,720,000
Manx Shearwater 2015 SU 5
Northern Gannet 1984 SU 1,354
Note: species shown in bold indicate that the maximum number exceeds at least one of the IBA thresholds (sub-regional, regional or global). The site may still not qualify for that level of IBA if the maximum number reflects an exceptional or historical occurrence.
Conservation Issues
The island has historically been the site of an intensive seabird hunt. It is now an official ecological reserve.

The IBA Program is an international conservation initiative coordinated by BirdLife International. The Canadian co-partners for the IBA Program are Birds Canada and Nature Canada.
   © Birds Canada