NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH(Parkesia noveboracensis)

The Northern Waterthrush is rather large for a wood warbler, at around 12 cm (5 in.) long. The top parts are brown with a light-colored or white band above the eye (eyebrow). The under parts are white and streaked with brown, and some individual have a yellowish belly. The legs are rather long and pinkish-grey, and the bill is grey.

Although being a wood warbler, the Northern Waterthrush is thus named due to its habit of foraging and nesting on the ground. The genus Latin name ‘Parkesia’ was given to this warbler in honor of K.C. Parkes, an American ornithologist. The species name ‘noveboracensis’ is Latin for ‘New York’.

This warbler’s habitat includes bogs and wetlands such as along streams, lakes and ponds in the forest. The type of forest where the bird is most likely to be found is dominated by conifers. This species feeds on insects found on the ground as well as in water, where it also preys on crustaceans. Its winter diet is similar. The nest is usually built near the ground, in a cavity on a stump close to the water.

The northern waterthrush breeds on PEI, and is fairly common on the island in spring and summer, but uncommon in the fall. Its breeding range encompasses Canada and Alaska up to the tundra, and the north east of the United States. Its wintering range includes southern Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and the northern part of South America.

Northern Waterthrush - Réserve naturelle Marais-du-Nord, QC - photo by Cephas
Northern Waterthrush – Réserve naturelle Marais-du-Nord, QC – Cephas