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northern waterthrush

northern waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis)
Photo © Rob Curtis/The Early Birder

Features and Behaviors

The northern waterthrush is about five and three-fourths inches in length. Its back and head feathers are brown, and a light eye stripe is present. The throat, breast and belly feathers show stripes. The basic color of the eye stripe and feathers on the underside varies from white to light yellow.

The northern waterthrush is a common migrant in Illinois. It can be seen teetering as it walks along the edge of a body of water. Its habitats include swamps, wet woodlands, pond shores and stream banks. It feeds mainly on insects. This species winters in Mexico, Central America, northern South America and the West Indies. The closest nesting location to Illinois is in Wisconsin. Spring migrants begin arriving in Illinois in April. Fall migrants have been observed in the state as early as late July.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Parulidae

Illinois Status: common, native