Baie des Escoumins et Grandes-Bergeronnes

Country/territory: Canada

IBA Criteria met: A4i (2008)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 34,000 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description
This site stretches along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, from the village of Grandes Bergeronnes to the mudflats just past Les Escoumins at Pointe du Moulin. The shore is generally rocky except at Baie des Escoumins, where there are extensive mudflats that up to a kilometre wide during very low tides. Several small islands are situated close to Les Escoumins. They include Ilets Boisés, and Petite and Grande Caye à Brisson. The Rochers Bare and Ilot des Bergeronnes are farther to the west. Four ‘at risk’ species of whales frequent these waters.

Key biodiversity
This site hosts congregations of many waterbirds. Seven species have been reported in significant numbers. Brant migrate through the area in large numbers during spring migration, with a maximum count of 5,500 birds recorded in 1986. This is 4% of the Atlantic bernicla population or over 1% of the North American population. Three species of duck congregate here in significant numbers in different seasons. American Black Ducks can be present in globally significant numbers. Up to 5,000 have been seen in the fall, and 3,200 in the winter - both numbers are over 1% of their total population. Barrow’s Goldeneyes are sometimes seen in continentally significant numbers, such in the winter of 1978 when 60 were counted (almost 2% of the eastern population). Although small numbers of Common Eiders (subspecies dresseri) breed on the Rochers Bare, much larger numbers have been recorded in the area in the summer. In July 1996, 2,500 birds or 2% of the dresseri population were counted.

This location hosts up to 10,000 gulls in the fall. A large proportion of these birds are Herring Gulls, for instance in 1980, 8,000 Herring Gulls were recorded (about 3% of the North American population), and it is one of the best sites in Quebec to witness fall migrations of Bonaparte’s Gull. In winter up to 1,250 Iceland Gulls (6% of the global population) and 300 Glaucous Gulls have been recorded (1.5% of the North American population).

Fall shorebirds are common in the Baie des Escoumins; the most regularly seen are Sanderling (500 in 1978), Semipalmated Sandpiper (300 in 1979), Semipalmated Plover (300 in 1996), Black-bellied Plover (100 in 1985) and Least Sandpiper (100 in 1977).

A few thousand Canada Geese and Snow Geese are usually seen in the spring, and Common Goldeneyes, Oldsquaws and Surf Scoters, are common along this piece of coast in various seasons. Finally, in addition to the eiders, five other species breed in the Baie des Escoumins in small numbers – these are Great Black-backed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron and Black-crowned Night-Heron. In 1995, 823 pairs of Herring Gulls were counted in several variably-sized colonies.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Baie des Escoumins et Grandes-Bergeronnes. Downloaded from on 06/07/2022.