Battures aux Loups Marins

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The three small Îles aux Loups Marins (Loups Marins Islands) and the large rocky flats (battures) that surrounds these islands are found approximately 8 km off the south shore of the St. Lawrence estuary, Québec. L'Islet-sur-mer, the closest town, is situated 23 km east of Montmagny. The large rocky flats are interspersed with muddy depressions. The small shale reef islands support mainly herbaceous vegetation. A large stand of Reed-Grass (Phragmites communis) occurs on the largest islets, as do alder and rose plants. Large willow trees are found near an uninhabited cottage on the largest islet.

Key biodiversity
The Battures aux Loups Marins have the largest concentration of Semipalmated Sandpipers along the St. Lawrence. In excess of 30,000 birds, about 1% of the estimated global population of this species, has been recorded at this site during fall migration. Other shorebird species occurring in large numbers at this site during fall migration include Semipalmated Plovers (770 or 1.5% of the global population) and Ruddy Turnstone (250). Black-crowned Night-Herons occur in nationally significant numbers at this site. A total of 135 nests have been recorded, representing almost 3% of the estimated Canadian population. The other heron at this site, the Great Blue Heron occurs in much smaller numbers (8 nests).

Common Eiders have gradually increased in numbers since 1971 when only 24 nests were recorded. By the early 1990s, an average of 273 pairs were counted at this site. American Black Duck and Northern Pintail nest in small numbers on the islands and the "battures" are used as a staging area for the Greater Snow Goose in spring and fall. Although no recent surveys have reconfirmed the breeding presence of gulls, in 1971, 20 nests of Great Black-backed and 60 nests of Herring Gulls were recorded at this site.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Oil spills are a constant threat to the islands of the St. Lawrence estuary, as a result of the steady flow of large ocean freighters. Oil spills and illegal discharges from these boats occur fairly frequently. The oil from these releases occasionally has devastating results on local seabird populations and other marine wildlife. Concerns at this site include the disturbance of birds from tourists, naturalists and yachters who sometimes approach the colonies too closely.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Battures aux Loups Marins. Downloaded from on 13/08/2022.