Cap Tourmente

Country/territory: Canada

IBA Criteria met: A4i, A4iii (2008)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 4,300 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description
Cap Tourmente is located on the north shore of the St Lawrence River approximately 55 km downstream from Québec City. Within the site there are four main habitat types: intertidal marsh, coastal marsh, coastal plain, and a mixed-forest plateau. The Cap Tourmente intertidal marsh, which is especially significant for staging Snow Geese, is part of the vast bulrush marshes that have developed along the North Channel of Ile d?Orléans, and Montmagny Islands in the St Lawrence River. In all, these marshes occupy 2,500 ha and include close to 60% of all the bulrush marshes in Québec.

The heterogeneous habitats within the Cap Tourmente site support a diverse vascular plant community with nearly 700 species having been identified. Several of these plant species are rare in both Quebec and Canada with Cap Tourmente representing the northernmost recorded site for several of these species.

Key biodiversity
During spring migration, Cap Tourmente hosts practically the entire population of the Greater Snow Goose (ssp. atlanticus). A significant proportion also stages here during the fall migration as well. At the turn of the century fewer than 3,000 individuals remained. The population has since expanded: a recent spring survey (1996) estimated a population of about 585,100. At the peak of migration more than 50,000 Greater Snow Geese can be observed daily on the Cap Tourmente mud flats and marshes. During recent years, the geese have started to expand their staging area. Lake Saint-Pierre and northern Lake Champlain to the southwest have become increasingly significant sites, especially during the spring.

In addition to Greater Snow Geese, thousands of ducks also stop over at Cap Tourmente in the fall. However, none of these species occur in nationally significant numbers.

A variety of waterfowl species are also present in the lowlands during the nesting season with some of the more common ones including: American Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler and Wood Duck. Numerous land birds are also present, including the nationally endangered anatum subspecies of the Peregrine Falcon. In all, more than 250 bird species have been identified at Cap Tourmente.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cap Tourmente. Downloaded from on 20/01/2022.