chimney swift, credit: Zak Polen CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Threatened Provincially and Nationally


• Small, sooty brown bird, 12 to 14 centimetres long with long slender wings and light-coloured throat
• Distinguished by acrobatic and erratic flight pattern
• Catches its prey (insects) in flight
• Mostly found in urban areas where it nests in chimneys and other human-made structures


• Widely distributed in southern Ontario, with confirmed breeding populations in Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury and the Rainy Lake District


• Decline in insect prey population
• Habitat loss (suitable chimneys that allow swifts to enter)


• Provincially protected under the Endangered Species Act, 2007
• Federally protected under the Species at Risk Act, 2002 and under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994


Canada’s chimney swift population has declined by 96 percent since 1968 and decreases in Ontario over the past decade are close to 20 percent of the population each year.