Louisiana Waterthrush

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Parkesia motacilla

Louisiana Waterthrush

The Louisiana Waterthrush is a large, heavy-bodied warbler, with a stout bill, rather short dark brown tail, pink long legs and feet. Their ringing song is one of the first signs of spring in eastern North America.

Adults are 5.9 - 6.1 inches in length, with 9.4 - 10.6 inches wingspan and weight of 18.2 - 22.9 grams.

They have a contrasting white underparts and salmon-buff flanks. Eyebrow is bicolor, with pale buff in front of eye, and white and much broader behind eye. There is a dark spotting and pinkish buff on flanks on their white underparts. They have white and unstreaked throat. Upper parts are dark brown.
Both sexes are similar.

Juveniles have dark brown upper parts with buff wing bars. They are duller, with olive-brown streaking on buff throat, breast and flanks. They have a pale buff and olive-brown mottling on sides of head. Eyebrow is whitish, bordered with a dark brown stripe behind eye.

CALL: A sharp “chink”. Both sexes utter a “zizz” call during courtship.  (Most often heard call note is a sharp, metallic chip, higher in pitch than that of Northern.)

SONG: Usual song includes 2 - 5 loud and clear, whistled introductory notes as a slurred ascending “seeup-seeup- seeup”, followed by a complex jumble of short phrases, rapidly uttered. Females give a rudimentary version of the same song.

Feeds on aquatic insects and invertebrates, crustaceans and molluscs, and also small to medium flying insects. Sometimes, they may eat some small fish, and small frogs.

Found along mountain streams in dense woodlands, also near ponds, and in swamps. It also likes stony rivers.

Breeds in Eastern United States, from Southern Great Lakes region to Southern New England, and from Eastern Texas across the Gulf States to Northern Florida.

Winters in Central Mexico, and in Southern Florida, and throughout West Indies.

Both adults bring the nest material, but often the female builds the nest alone. It is a cup-shaped nest made with moss, leaves, twigs and bark.

The female lays 4 - 6 white or creamy-white eggs, spotted and speckled with reddish-brown. She incubates the eggs for 14 - 16 days.


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