least bittern, credit: passion4nature/ Essentials Collection/Getty Images

Threatened Provincially and Nationally


• Smallest member of the heron family; brown and beige plumage with large chestnut patches on wings
• Crown and back of males are black but are lighter in females and juveniles
• Throat is light tan with whitish streaks; white belly; legs and beak are bright yellow


• Found mostly south of the Canadian Shield
• Small numbers breed occasionally in northwestern Ontario


• Habitat loss and degradation (wetlands)
• Pesticides, fertilizers and other toxic substances
• Invasive plants
• Human disturbance (motorboats)
• Climate change and changing water levels


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


The least bittern experienced a decline of about 30 percent in Ontario between 1999 and 2009.

least bittern, passion4nature/ Essentials Collection/Getty Images