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Île Nue de Mingan (QC078)


Île Nue de Mingan (QC078)

Havre-Saint-Pierre, Québec

Latitude 50.211°N
Longitude 64.126°W
Altitude 0 - 17m
Area 13.31km²

Site Description

Île Nue de Mingan is an island located at the western edge of the Mingan archipelago, four kilometres off the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Québec. The island is comprised of limestone and it is part of Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve. A second island, the tiny Îlot is separated from the main island by about a hundred metres of sea. A primitive campground is situated on the north end of the island and an information and interpretation centre is located in Havre-Saint-Pierre outside of this IBA. Several regionally rare plants, such as Green Spleenwort (Asplenium viride) and Small-flowered Rocket (Erysimum inconspicuum var. coarctatum) occur on Île Nue de Mingan.

Île Nue de Mingan was used in the 15th and 16th centuries by the Basque, who were fishing for cod and hunting whales.


This site hosts globally significant concentrations of Herring Gulls. In 1996, 6924 pairs or about 5% of the estimated North American Herring Gull population were recorded at this site.

Common Eiders (ssp. dresseri) also nest at this site; in 1996 there were 341 nesting pairs. These birds migrate to the coasts of Nova Scotia and New England for the winter. Also in 1996, 195 pairs of Great Black-backed Gulls and in 1999, 214 pairs of Arctic/Common Terns nested here. Ring-billed Gull numbers peaked in 1983 at 174 pairs, but the population declined to only 5 pairs in 1996. Black-legged Kittiwake numbers have fluctuated considerably throughout the years as well. There were 5 pairs in 1987, 90 pairs in 1988, 2 pairs in 1993, and about 100 pairs in 1996. One pair of the rare Black-headed Gull nested here in 1988 and 1992. In total, over 16,000 seabirds (excluding eiders) breed at the Île Nue de Mingan colony.

Migrant shorebirds are present in the spring and common in the fall. The most abundant species, listed in decreasing order are: White-rumped Sandpiper, Red Knot, Least Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Hudsonian Godwit.

Conservation Issues

The large gull population at this site have been responsible for the ‘deterioration' of about 2% of the habitat on the island, and may effect the number of breeding terns. Poaching of seabird eggs does still occur in the park, and a legal eider hunt around the island in the fall is very popular. Other visitors to he park, such as campers, are thought to have a negligible impact on the bird colony.

Oil spills are prevalent in areas with heavy shipping traffic, and the St. Lawrence Seaway is among the busiest waterways in North American. A large oil spill could have a devastating effect on waterbird populations in the Mingan Island Archipelago.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
White-rumped Sandpiper
Number Year Season
9,000 - 13,0002014Fall
Herring Gull
Number Year Season
8,974 - 13,8001996Summer
Number Year Season