Margaree Island

Country/territory: Canada

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

Area: 830 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description
Located just 4 km off the western coast of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Margaree is a small island that is best described as a "whale back" of red sandstone. The island is also known as Sea Wolf Island. It is bordered on all sides by rocky cliffs, the tops of which are vegetated with stunted forest and open herbaceous cover.

Key biodiversity
The cliffs of Margaree Island are used as nest sites by Great Cormorants. This species North American range is restricted to the northeast, with greater than 70% of the birds breeding in Nova Scotia. In 1992, approximately 2.1% (266 birds) of the estimated North American population was breeding on the cliffs of Margaree Island. Although this colony is currently less than half the size of the 1987 colony (596 birds), it is greater than it was in the period between of 1965 to the late 1980s (average size was 160 birds). A handful of Razorbills also breed on Margaree Island.

Although Great Cormorants often breed inland in Europe and Asia, they are strictly coastal breeders in North America. Cormorants prefer nest sites that are within commuting range of adequate food resources and safe from terrestrial predators. As a result, isolated islands and steep rocky cliffs that are within commuting range of adequate food resources, are favoured as nesting sites.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Margaree Island. Downloaded from on 09/08/2022.