Northern Waterthrushes (Seiurus noveboracensis)

The Northern Waterthrushes (Seiurus noveboracensis) are one of the larger New World warblers.

Distribution / Range

The Northern Waterthrush breeds in the northern part of North America in Canada, and in the northern United States, in areas including Alaska).

This bird is migratory, wintering in Central America, the West Indies, and Florida. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.


The Northern Waterthrushes is 13.5 cm long, weighs 15 g, and has a plain brown back with white underparts streaked with black. This bird displays a white supercilium (line above eye), and its legs are pink. All of its plumages are similar, although young birds have buff, rather than white. underparts.

Similar species

The only species which, among bird watchers, causes confusion with the Northern Waterthrush, is the closely-related Louisiana Waterthrush (Seiurus motacilla), which has buff flanks, a buff undertail, and bright pink legs. The Louisiana Waterthrush also tends to have a white throat which displays less streaks than would be found on the throat.

Both waterthrush species walk rather than hop, and seem to teeter, since they bob their rear ends as they move along.

Nesting / Breeding

The breeding habitat of the Northern Waterthrush is wet woodlands near water. It nests in a stump or among tree roots, laying three to six eggs, which are cream- or buff-colored, with brown and gray spots. These eggs are laid in a cup nest constructed of leaves, bark strips, and rootlets.

Diet / Feeding

The Northern Waterthrush is a terrestrial feeder, eating insects, mollusks, and crustaceans found amongst leaf litter.

Song / Call

Its song is a loud swee swee chit chit weedleoo, and its call is a hard chink.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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