Marais de Saint-Fulgence

Country/territory: Canada

IBA criteria met: A4i (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 1,400 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description (baseline)
The Marais de St. Fulgence (St. Fulgence marsh) is located on the Saguenay River’s north shore by the town of St. Fulgence, Québec. It covers the brackish tidal area from Cap à la Loutre to Cap des Roches. A man-made barrier projects 650 metres into the river. The marshes are a mixture of natural and man-made marsh. Most of the tidal sand flats are unvegetated due to the strong tidal currents. Typical tides cover an area of Scirpus americanus and rushes. Rocks and glacial boulders are strew across the flats. The construction of Road 172, which forms the northern border of the site, somewhat reduced the amount of natural habitat. On the edge of the site on the highest lands are agricultural fields, scrub thickets, and wet, richly vegetated pockets.

Key biodiversity
This marsh is among the most used stopover sites by waterbirds in the Saguenay/Lac Staint-Jean region. To date, over 210 species of birds have been recorded here. Two species occur here in continentally significant numbers: Canada and Greater Snow geese. The Atlantic Canada Goose (subspecies interior and canadensis) can be seen during spring migration in numbers up to 9,000 birds. The Greater Snow Goose (subspecies caerulescens) can also be seen in spring, (8,000 birds in 1988). Both species’ numbers are greater than 1% of their respective continental thresholds. Herring Gulls often congregate in spring at the Saint Fulgence marsh, with over 1% of the North American population (3,000) being observed in 1995. Among the many shorebirds utilizing the site during migration, only the Purple Sandpiper has been seen in significant numbers, 136 or about 1% of the North American population were seen in the spring of 1988. Most of the time, this species is recorded in smaller numbers during spring and fall migration.

Since 1959, the nationally vulnerable Yellow Rail has regularly been found during the breeding period with up to eight adults heard in 1991. This makes the area important for the species’ reproduction since there are few sites in Quebec where there are as many individuals during the breeding season. Few habitats of such size are populated by Yellow Rail in the province. Small numbers of Le Conte’s Sparrow breed occasionally and a small regular population of Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow is present. Occasionally migrating Peregrine Falcons (nationally threatened), Short-eared Owls (nationally vulnerable) and Horned Grebes have also been noted in the marsh.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Marais de Saint-Fulgence. Downloaded from on 04/06/2023.