Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla)

Louisiana Waterthrush

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Parulidae | [latin] Parkesia motacilla | [UK] Louisiana Waterthrush | [FR] Sylvette hoche-queue | [DE] Stelzen-Waldsanger | [ES] Reinita Charquera de Luisiana | [NL] Lopuisiana-waterlijster


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Oporornis motacilla
Parkesia motacilla NA e USA MA, West Indies, n SA

Physical charateristics

The Louisiana Waterthrush, Seiurus motacilla, is a relatively large, drab, thrushlike
member of the Wood Warbler family (Parulidae). Males and females are identical in
external appearance. The upper parts are dull brown. The lower parts are creamcoloured,
with dark streaking on the breast and flanks, which fade out in the undertail
coverts. A bold, broad, white supercilium extends to the nape. The legs are bubble-gum
pink, and the bill is rather long and heavy for a warbler.

Listen to the sound of Louisiana Waterthrush

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/L/Louisiana Waterthrush.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 23 cm wingspan max.: 25 cm
size min.: 14 cm size max.: 16 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 10 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 6  


North America : East USA


The Louisiana Waterthrush is a riparian obligate species, with high quality breeding habitat characterized by the presence of fast-flowing streams within contiguous, deciduous, and often hilly forests containing moderate to sparse undergrowth.


Nests are located along stream banks, ravines, or in a crevice among the roots of an upturned tree. Both sexes build nest constructed of moss, leaves, grasses and rootlets, which is situated on a thick base of leaves, and the female incubates 4-6 eggs for 12-14 days. Although rare observations of polygyny exist, Louisiana Waterthrush are monogamous
and single brooded, laying smooth and glossy, white or creamy-white eggs with variable brownish and purplish colored spots. Brownheaded Cowbird (Molothrus ater) nest parasitism is common; Louisiana Waterthrush often accept the similar looking cowbird egg(s). Altricial
young are tended by both adults, typically taking their first flight at 10 days of age, they continue to be fed (by adults) outside the nest for approximately four more weeks

Feeding habits

The Louisiana Waterthrush has a specialized diet, feeding mostly on aquatic and
flying insects, and sometimes small molluscs, fish, crustaceans, and amphibians.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 2,400,000 km2. It has a large global population estimated to be 260,000 individuals (Rich et al. 2003). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The breeding range of the Louisiana Waterthrush (Seiurus motacilla) primarily spans the
east-central and eastern U.S., from southeastern Minnesota eastward to southern Maine, and southward to eastern Texas and northwestern Florida. Louisiana Waterthrush has been extending its range northward in some parts of the northeastern U.S.
Louisiana Waterthrush status Least Concern


This species winters primarily in mountainous
areas of Mexico, south through Central America to
central Panama, as well as parts of the Caribbean.

Distribution map

Louisiana Waterthrush distribution range map

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