Family New World Warblers (Parulidae)

Least Concern

Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla)


French: Paruline hochequeue German: Stelzenwaldsänger Spanish: Reinita charquera de Luisiana

Turdus motacilla


, 1809,

Kentucky, USA




SE Canada (SE Ontario) and E USA from Minnesota, E Nebraska and E Texas E, discontinuously, to New Hampshire region and South Carolina (largely excluding Gulf and SE Atlantic coastal areas and Florida). Migrates to Central America from N Mexico S to Panama (in smaller numbers to N Colombia and Venezuela) and to Caribbean (mainly Greater Antilles).

Descriptive notes

14·5–16 cm; 16·8–26 g. Distinctive parulid; constantly bobs tail up and down, slowly and emphatically, in character­istic deliberate and... read more


Song a series of 3–4 shrill, slurred whistles, descending slightly in pitch, followed by... read more


Breeds in wooded ravines with running streams, preferring gravel-bottomed streams in upland... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds mainly on insects, molluscs and crustaceans, taking slightly larger prey items and fewer fly (Diptera) larvae than does P.... read more


Season Apr–Jul, egg-laying mainly Apr–Jun (occasionally into early Jul); occasionally two broods (eight out of 143 pairs in... read more


Medium-distance to long-distance migrant. Leaves breeding grounds from late Jun, mostly mid-Jul to... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Listed as a species of conservation concern by US Fish & Wildlife Service. Uncommon to locally fairly common. Breeding range... read more

Recommended citation

Curson, J. (2019). Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 November 2019).