Northern WaterthrushParkesia noveboracensis

adult
Steve Mlodinow/VIREO
adult
Gerard Bailey/VIREO
adult
Doug Wechsler/VIREO
Northern Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush

Family

Description

6" (15 cm). A terrestrial, thrush-like warbler. Olive-brown above; pale yellowish below with black streaks; narrow, yellowish-white eyebrow; streaked yellowish throat. Frequently bobs tail. See Louisiana Warbler.

Voice

Song chee-chee-chee, chip-chip-chip-chew-chew-chew, loud and ringing, speeding up at the end. Call a sharp chink.

Listen

songs #4
songs #2
calls
songs#1
songs #3

Habitat

Lakeshores, wooded swamps, and cool bogs, in the breeding season; almost any wooded habitat during migration.

Range

Breeds from Alaska and much of Canada south to northern United States. Winters in tropics.

Discussion

Ornithologist E. H. Forbush's observation about the Northern Waterthrush, made more than half a century ago, still applies: "It is a large wood warbler disguised as a thrush and exhibiting an extreme fondness for water." Like its relative the Ovenbird, it walks rather than hops. This species is among the first to move south during the fall migration, and southern migrants are regularly reported by the middle of July or earlier. One individual banded on Long Island during a southbound flight was recovered the following winter in Venezuela and, remarkably, was trapped a year later at the same place in Venezuela.

Nesting

4 or 5 creamy-white eggs, with brown blotches, in a nest of moss set in a bank, at the base of a trunk, or among the roots of an overturned tree.

Similar Species

adult, Pacific

Hermit Thrush

6 1/2 -7 1/2" (17-19 cm). Smaller than a robin. The only one of our brown, spotted thrushes with dull brown upperparts and a strongly contrasting rusty tail. Frequently flicks its tail.

adult

Wood Thrush

8" (20 cm). Starling-sized. Brown above, bright rusty color on head, and white below with large blackish spots. Other brown thrushes have finer spotting on breast.

adult

Worm-eating Warbler

5 1/2" (14 cm). Sparrow-sized. Plain brownish above and below, with conspicuous dark and light crown stripes. Sexes look alike.

adult

Swainson's Warbler

5" (13 cm). A plain warbler, olive-brown above and whitish beneath, with rufous cap and whitish line over eye.

adult

Ovenbird

6" (15 cm). A terrestrial, thrush-like warbler. Olive green above, white below with dark streaks; conspicuous eye ring; orange-brown crown bordered with black stripes; pinkish legs.

adult

Louisiana Waterthrush

6 1/2" (17 cm). A terrestrial, thrush-like warbler. Dark olive-brown above, white and streaked below. Frequently bobs tail.

Vireo

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