Rocher Le Corps Mort

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
Rocher le Corps Mort is a rocky island located 15 km off the southwest coast of Havre Aubert Island, in the Magdalen Islands archipelago. The island can be observed from a boat, but landing is difficult. The western end of this elongated island is composed of irregularly shaped volcanic rocks, whereas the central portion is composed of layers of mixed sedimentary rock. Due to the harsh climate, very little vegetation grows on the island. But despite this somewhat forbidding terrain, the island supports several species of nesting seabirds, most notably a large colony of Great Cormorants.

Key biodiversity
The Great Cormorant colony contained 116 birds in 1990, which represents about 1% of the estimated North American population. This, and previous accounts of the size of the colony on Rocher le Corps Mort, contribute to the identification of this site as an IBA under the congregatory species category.

During the 1990 surveys, small colonies of both Herring Gulls (46 birds) and Great Black-backed Gulls (54 birds) also nest on this island. The Black Guillemot, also known to local fishermen as the “sea pigeon”, is also present at this site with 20 birds being observed during the 1990 survey.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Since the island is difficult to reach and rarely visited, the seabirds that nest there are not at a great risk from human disturbance. A greater potential threat is the risk of contamination from oil spills and oil exploration. Due to the frequency of ship traffic through the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the islands are particularly vulnerable to oil pollution. Although little can be done, the erosive effects of strong winds and tides are reducing the size of the island and the amount of available seabird nesting habitat.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Rocher Le Corps Mort. Downloaded from on 05/10/2022.