Full Site

Cap Noir (QC016)


Cap Noir (QC016)

Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Québec

Latitude 47.228°N
Longitude 62.021°W
Altitude 0 - 45m
Area 1.85km²

Site Description

Cap Noir is located about 2 km south of the town of Étang-des-Caps on the southwest coast of Havre Aubert Island. It is accessible by chemin Havre-Aubert, which runs along the south coast of the Island. The site is relatively small, and consists of a 200 metre long stretch of cliffs that are composed of volcanic rock rising approximately 45 metres from the sea.


Cap Noir has supported a colony of nesting Great Cormorants for more than 20 years. In 1976, the population was estimated to contain approximately 40 breeding adults. In 1988, a total of 124 pairs was recorded by the provincial government (about 2% of the estimated North American population). A lower total of only 138 adults (69 pairs) was recorded in 1990, but this is still greater than 1% of the North American population. More recent surveys have not been completed. No other nesting seabird species have been reported from along this stretch of cliffs.During the 1996 International Piping Plover Census, 14 Piping Plovers were counted at Bassin aux Huîtres. This is 3.3% of the Atlantic Canada population. Numbers of Piping Plovers have been increasing at this site in the last five years. For example, between 1994 and 1998, an average of 14 Piping Plovers were observed per year in contrast to an average of 3 birds per year that were observed between 1987 and 1993. The 10 year average, from 1991 to 2000, was 5.1 pairs per year.

Bassin aux Huîtres is also used by several species of ducks and shorebirds. Horned Grebe are occasionally seen on the Bassin aux Huîtres.

Conservation Issues

At present there are no direct conservation measures in place for Cap Noir. Like other seabird colonies in the Magdalen archipelago, the colonial nesters at this site are susceptible to oil pollution and general disturbance during the breeding season.The popularity of the beaches in the Magdalen Islands archipelago has increased in the last few years and so disturbance is a constant threat for breeding Piping Plovers. Since 1987, studies were conducted to develop protection measures for the Piping Plover. Education programs were developed to inform residents and tourists about the threats to the Piping Plover populations. Signs delimiting restricted zones during the breeding season have been erected. Since 1995, a municipal regulation has prohibited the use of off-road vehicles on the beaches of the Magdalen Islands archipelago, but some people in all-terrain vehicles have still been seen using the beaches.

The Gulf of St.Lawrence is susceptible to oil spills - for instance the Magdalen Islands experienced the shipwreck of the “Irving Whale” in 1970.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Black-headed Gull
Number Year Season
Number Year Season
Great Cormorant
Number Year Season