Plover and Payne Islands

Country/territory: Canada

IBA criteria met: -
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 1,250 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description (baseline)
The Plover and Payne Islands are two archipelagos of about a hundred islands lying along the western shoreline of Ungava Bay. The Payne Islands are clustered around the mouth of the Riviére Arnaud, while the Plover Islands lie along the coast just to the north of the river. The community of Kangiqsuk is close-by, just up the river to the west. The islands are underlain by the hard granitic-gneiss of the Canadian Shield and are covered by a thin layer of soil. Typical tundra vegetation is present, which in this region are low woody shrubs, sedges, moss and lichen. The broad bare-rock margins of these islands are extensive because the strong and high tides scour the shorelines with ice.

Key biodiversity
Common Eiders breed on the Payne and Plover Islands in high densities (an average of 32 nests per island). In total, 3,500 Common Eider pairs of the subspecies borealis nested here in 1980. This is a significant proportion (about 4%) of the borealis subspecies' population, a population that occurs throughout the northeastern Canadian arctic. More recent surveys are not available for these islands.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Plover and Payne Islands. Downloaded from on 29/05/2023.