Louisiana Waterthrush Life History


Habitat Rivers and Streams

  • Breeds along gravel-bottomed streams flowing through hilly, deciduous forest.
  • Winters in similar habitat.
Back to top


Food InsectsInsects. Also other arthropods, earthworms, and occasionally small frogs and fish.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Open cup of mud, leaves, plant stems, pine needles, and small twigs built on foundation of wet leaves. Lined with fine plant stems, rootlets, hair, and moss. May construct entranceway of whole dead leaves. Nest placed in small hollow or cavity on stream bank, under fallen log, or within roots of an upturned tree.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:3-6 eggs
Egg Description:Creamy white with reddish brown splotches, usually concentrated around larger end.
Condition at Hatching:Helpless with tufts of dark gray down.
Back to top


Behavior Ground ForagerPicks at substrate, pulls up submerged leaves, hawks flying insects, and hover-gleans insects off vegetation.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernLouisiana Waterthrush populations were stable between 1966 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 360,000, with 100% spending at least part of the year in the U.S., and 28% wintering in Mexico. The species rates a 12 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Louisiana Waterthrush is a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species. It is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List.Back to top


Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

Mattsson, Brady J., Terry L. Master, Robert S. Mulvihill and W. Douglas Robinson. 2009. Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Partners in Flight (2017). Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

Sauer, J. R., D. K. Niven, J. E. Hines, D. J. Ziolkowski, Jr., K. L. Pardieck, J. E. Fallon, and W. A. Link (2017). The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2015. Version 2.07.2017. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

Stephenson, T. and S. Whittle (2013). The Warbler Guide. Princeton University Press, New Jersey, USA. 

Back to top