Louisiana Waterthrush
(Parkesia motacilla)


Picture of bird
© John Reaume
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Louisiana Waterthrush breeds along pristine woodland streams in southern Ontario and possibly Quebec, the northern limit of its breeding range. The Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario suggests that the population's occurrence within the province showed little overall change during the 20-year period spanned by the Atlases. The species was designated as Special Concern in 2006 by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada because of its small population (COSEWIC 2006). This species may be affected by habitat loss and increasing stream turbidity on its wintering and breeding grounds (COSEWIC 2006). This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
COSEWIC (Canada)Special Concern2006 
SARA (Canada)Special Concern2007 
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2012 
Partners in Flight (North America)Stewardship List2012 
Wild Species (Canada)Sensitive2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaLittle ChangeMedium

Population estimate

Canada< 500 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Long-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population

CanadaVery Low

Conservation and management

Habitat degradation, deforestation, and increasing stream turbidity may negatively impact the species on both its wintering and breeding grounds (COSEWIC 2006). Hemlock is an important habitat component in Ontario, and ongoing impacts from infestations of the invasive, introduced bug, Hemlock Woolly adelgid, may adversely affect this species (Mattsson et al. 2009). The Canadian Wildlife Service has been conducting targeted surveys to more accurately determine the distribution and abundance of the species in Ontario. Recent evidence suggests that this species may be an excellent bioindicator of stream ecosystem health (COSEWIC 2006). For information on the legal status of this species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and to view available recovery documents, see the SARA Registry.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Boreal Hardwood TransitionBoreal Hardwood Transition, sub-region and priority type: Ontario Region
Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence PlainLower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain, sub-region and priority type: Ontario Region