Louisiana Waterthrush

Parkesia motacilla




Wood-Warblers (Parulidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White with brown and gray specks or blotches

Number of Eggs:

4 - 6

Incubation Days:

12 - 14

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

0 - 2 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with roots, fern stems, grass, animal fur, dead leaves, moss, and twigs.





Louisiana Waterthrush: Large, heavy-bodied, ground-dwelling warbler with dark olive-brown upperparts and heavily streaked white underparts with buff wash on belly and sides. Throat is white; eyestripe is dark and thick, white eyebrows widen behind eyes. Bill is long and heavy. Tail is short with pale buff undertail coverts. Sexes are similar. Bobs tail continually.

Range and Habitat

Louisiana Waterthrush: Breeds throughout the eastern states, from Minnesota, southern Ontario and central New England south to Texas and Georgia. Spends winters in the tropics from coastal Mexico and the West Indies south. Preferred habitats include swift-moving brooks on hillsides, river swamps, and along sluggish streams.

Breeding and Nesting

Louisiana Waterthrush: Four to six white eggs, with brown and gray specks or blotches, are laid in a grass-lined nest made of dead leaves and moss, and set under the overhang of a stream bank, in a stump cavity, or in exposed tree roots. Incubation ranges from 12 to 14 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Louisiana Waterthrush: Eats insects, other invertebrates, small fish, and small frogs. Forages primarily on the ground within the boundary of a stream channel; occasionally searches trees during insect swarms.


Louisiana Waterthrush: Song consists of two to five loud, clear, whistled introductory notes that are a slurred upward "SWEER-SWEER-SWEER", followed by a variable, complex jumble of short, rapidly uttered phrases "chee chi-wit-it-chit swee-yuu."

Similar Species

Louisiana Waterthrush: Northern Waterthrush has shorter bill, spotted throat, and lacks buff wash on underparts.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X