Northern Waterthrush

(Parkesia noveboracensis)

Conservation Status
Northern Waterthrush
Photo by Lynn Rubey
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

     
  NatureServe

N5B - Secure Breeding

SNRB - Unranked Breeding

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Northern Waterthrush looks and behaves like a thrush, and its name suggests that it is a thrush (Family Turdidae). It is actually a New World Warbler (Family Parulidae). In Minnesota it nests exclusively in the Arrowhead region. It is a common migrant throughout the state in the spring and fall. It is found in thickets and at the edges of woodlands near swamps, bogs, lakes, and ponds, and in ravines. It feeds at the edges of standing water for insects, other aquatic invertebrates, and small fish. As it forages it frequently bobs its tail.

At 5 to 6 in length, Northern Waterthrush is a large for a warbler. It has a long body, long legs, and a wingspan of 9½. The upper parts are olive brown. The throat is pale yellowish to buff and lightly streaked. The rest of the underparts pale yellowish to buff with heavy dark streaking. There is little contrast between the flanks and the rest of the underparts. On the head there is a dark eye line and a bold buff “eyebrow”. The eyebrow narrows to a point at the rear, and it ends on the head, not on the neck. On some individuals the eyebrow and the underparts are paler, almost white. The legs are pinkish.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

5 to 6 in length

9½ wingspan

 
     
 

Voice

 
   
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla) eyebrow line is buff in front of the eye, white behind, and broad in back, not tapered. It continues back to the nape of the neck. The throat is white and unstreaked. The breast and belly are white. The flanks and undertail coverts are tinged buff.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Thickets and woodland edges near swamps, bogs, lakes, beaver ponds, and rivers, and in ravines.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Migration

 
 

Late April to early June and mid-August to early October.

 
     
 

Nesting

 
 

 

 
     
 

Food

 
 

Invertebrates and small fish.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common migrant, uncommon breeder

 
         
 

Maps

 
 

The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union All Seasons Species Occurrence Map

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Aves (birds)  
 

Order

Passeriformes (perching birds)  
 

Family

Parulidae (New World warblers, wood warblers)  
 

Genus

Parkesia (waterthrushes)  
       
 

This species was formerly included with the ovenbird in the genus Seiurus. Recent mitochondrial DNA studies suggest that the waterthrushes are not closely related to the ovenbird. The genus was split and the waterthrushes were placed in the new genus Parkesia.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Seiurus noveboracensis

Seiurus noveboracensis limnaeus

Seiurus noveboracensis notabilis

Seiurus noveboracensis noveboracensis

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       
Visitor Photos
   

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Lynn Rubey
       

A Northern Waterthrush in The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge in Lac qui Parle County

along the wooded area of the auto tour road.

  Northern Waterthrush    
       

Along the wooded area of the auto tour route where the trees have fallen across the stream.

  Northern Waterthrush    
       

I was following a Wood Duck down the river in the Minnesota River as I pulled over and noticed this small Northern Waterthrush along the bank foraging for food.

  Northern Waterthrush    
       
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Northern Waterthrush
JMC Nature Photos
 
  Northern Waterthrush  
     
  Parkesia
Bill Keim
 
  Parkesia  
 
About

Family: Parulidae

- Parkesia motacilla (Louisiana Waterthrush)
- Parkesia noveboracensis (Northern Waterthrush)

 
     

 

slideshow

       
Visitor Videos
   

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Other Videos
 
  NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH foraging Parkesia noveboracensis
Rob Curtis
 
   
 
About

Jun 16, 2019

Parkesia noveboracensis NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH foraging at Montrose Point, Chicago, May, 2019

   
       
  Northern Waterthrush
Larry Bond
 
   
 
About

Jul 6, 2014

For more details see:

https://ebirdr.com/bird/northern-waterthrush

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   

Report a sighting of this bird.

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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
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Lynn Rubey
5/11/2020

Location: Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge

I was following a Wood Duck down the river in the Minnesota River as I pulled over and noticed this small Northern Waterthrush along the bank foraging for food.

Northern Waterthrush


Lynn Rubey
5/5/2020

Location: Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge

A Northern Waterthrush in The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge in Lac qui Parle County along the wooded area of the auto tour road.

Northern Waterthrush


 
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Created: 6/29/2020

Last Updated:

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