CA303
Cape Liddon


Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
Cape Liddon is located on the southwestern coast of Devon Island at the western headland of Radstock Bay. The site is characterized by towering limestone cliffs that rise over 300m from the sea to a flat plateau above. Caswall Tower, a high rock stack overlooking Radstock Bay is located about 9km to the north of Cape Liddon. An expansive, flat lowland lies to the southeast of the tower. About 30 archaeological sites, including 3 old Inuit houses and 10 to 15 tent-rings are known to exist in the area south of Caswall Tower.

Polar Bears use Radstock Bay regularly as a summer retreat, while the nearby Lancaster Sound supports migrating marine mammals such as Beluga Whale, Narwhal, Ringed Seal, and Harp Seal.

Key biodiversity
A large colony of Northern Fulmars nest on the Cape Liddon cliffs, with up to 10,000 pairs being recorded in the summer of 1977. This would represent as much as 3.2% of the Canadian population of this species and just below 1% of the estimated North American population. Using rough surveys, others feel that the colony may be much smaller than 10,000 pairs.

The nesting fulmars remain at the cliff site for almost six months, arriving in mid-April and leaving by early October. Their breeding season is long, despite the fact that they lay only one egg. The incubation takes at least a month and a half and the young do not fly until almost two months of age. While at Cape Liddon, the fulmars feed in Barrow Strait and Lancaster Sound, both of which provide rich productive waters.

To the north, Common Eiders and a large colony of Black Guillemots (up to 100 pairs) nest along the shoreline near the Caswall Tower.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
No immediate threats have been identified. Lancaster Sound and Barrow Strait, which are oriented east to west through the arctic, have the potential to become major shipping routes. This could result in pollution, such as small scale, but chronic oil discharges. There is also the potential for oil and gas exploration within Lancaster Sound and Barrow Strait, although active exploration is currently on hold. Arctic cruise-ship tourism, which is on the increase, could lead to the potential disturbance of seabird colonies. Fulmars though, are tolerant of ships at sea and their colonies are often so high on the cliffs that there is little disturbance even of this type.

Cape Liddon was recognized as a significant site by the International Biological Programme (Region 9, #2-15). In the early 1990s it was also identified as a Key Migratory Bird Terrestrial Habitat site by the Canadian Wildlife Service.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cape Liddon. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/09/2022.