Beak of the Week – Louisiana Waterthrush

Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla)

Family: Parulidae

By Ryan McGinty, Conservation Technician, Houston Audubon

The Louisiana Waterthrush is a large brown warbler with a large bill, long legs, and a short tail. They have a white underside with brown streaking, and a white supercilium that contrasts with the bird’s dark brown back and head. These birds can be found near water, often along streams, and will bob their tail as they forage by wading along the edges of streams, preying mostly on insects and small invertebrates; however, they may also prey upon small frogs and salamanders.

These birds breed in much of the eastern United States and are one of the earliest arrivals in spring. They nest along stream banks usually tucked under a log or root system. Both sexes work together to build a cup nest out of plant material and mud, lining the interior with plant stems, hair, and mosses. They lay between two to six eggs in a clutch that are a cream color with brown spots.

Louisiana Waterthrush can be heard singing now in the Houston Audubon Sanctuaries at High Island, TX. Come down to see them as well as other migrating birds this spring.

Greg Lavaty
Greg Lavaty
 Visit our Bird Gallery to read about other Texas birds! 

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