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Overview

Brief Summary

Parkesia motacilla

A large (6 inches) wood warbler, the Louisiana Waterthrush is most easily identified by its brown back and wings, whitish breast streaked with brown, and conspicuous white eye stripe. This species is physically similar to the related Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis), although that species is typically darker yellow and more streaked below and on the face. Male and female Louisiana Waterthrushes are similar to one another in all seasons. The Louisiana Waterthrush breeds across the eastern United States and southern Canada, being more or less absent from the southeastern coastal plain, upper New England, and parts of the Midwest. In winter, this species is found in the southern half of Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. Many birds fly across the Gulf of Mexico twice a year while on migration. Louisiana Waterthrushes breed in a variety of woodland habitats along the edges of streams and creeks. In winter, this species is found in similar streamside areas in humid tropical forests. Unusually for a warbler, Louisiana Waterthrushes primarily eat aquatic invertebrates, including insects and larvae. Along streams in appropriate habitat, Louisiana Waterthrushes may be seen walking on the shoreline or wading in shallow water while foraging for food. This species’ characteristic tail wagging behavior, in which the rear half of the body is flicked up and down almost constantly while the bird is in motion, is highly unusual among wood warblers. Louisiana Waterthrushes are primarily active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.

Threat Status: Least Concern

  • Louisiana Waterthrush (Seiurus motacilla). The Internet Bird Collection. Lynx Edicions, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
  • Mattsson, Brady J., Terry L. Master, Robert S. Mulvihill and W. Douglas Robinson. 2009. Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/151
  • Parkesia motacilla. Xeno-canto. Xeno-canto Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
  • Peterson, Roger Tory. Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. Print.
  • eBird Range Map - Louisiana Waterthrush. eBird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, N.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

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Global Range: BREEDING: eastern Nebraska, southern Great Lakes region (including southern Ontario and perhaps rarely in southwestern Quebec), and New England south to eastern Texas, Gulf states, northern Florida, and South Carolina (Robinson 1995, AOU 1998). NON-BREEDING: southern Sonora, southern Nuevo Leon, and southwestern Tamaulipas south through Mexico (generally absent from Yucatan peninsula) and Central America into northern and western Colombia and northwestern Venezuela; also from southern Florida and Bahamas throughout West Indies (fairly common in Puerto Rico, uncommon in Virgin Islands) (Robinson 1995, AOU 1998)

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Range

E US; winters s Florida to nw South America and West Indies.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Physical Description

Size

Length: 15 cm

Weight: 21 grams

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Comments: BREEDING: Moist forest, woodland, and ravines along streams; mature deciduous and mixed floodplain and swamp forests. Prefers areas with moderate to sparse undergrowth (Prosser and Brooks 1998) near rapid-flowing water of hill and mountain streams. Ground dweller. Nests on the ground along stream banks, hidden in the underbrush or among the roots of fallen trees, in crevices or raised sites in tree roots, or in rock walls of ravines over water (Harrison 1978, Bushman and Therres 1988).

NON-BREEDING: In migration and winter also in riparian woodland, scrub and thickets, generally near running water; avoids extensive openings and still water (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Arrives in Puerto Rico in September (some birds as early as August), remains through April-May (Raffaele 1983). Arrives in Costa Rica early to mid-August, departs by mid-April (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Eats primarily aquatic insects, also small mollusks, killifishes, minnows (Terres 1980), and salamanders (Mulvihill et al. 1999). Forages mostly on or near the ground along streams or in damp or wet stream beds. NON-BREEDING: In Jamaica, feeds while standing on rocks beside or in water. In lowlands, confined to rocks near running water; at higher elevations, may forage also on mud and beside standing water (Lack 1976). In Trinidad, forages on mud among mangroves, on floor of dry lowland forest, and beside rocky streams in montane forest (Lack 1976).

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Associations

Known predators

Seiurus motacilla is prey of:
Accipiter striatus
Diptera
Secernentia nematodes

Based on studies in:
Puerto Rico, El Verde (Rainforest)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Waide RB, Reagan WB (eds) (1996) The food web of a tropical rainforest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
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Known prey organisms

Seiurus motacilla preys on:
Eleutherodactylus coqui
Eleutherodactylus richmondi
Eleutherodactylus portoricensis
Eleutherodactylus wightmanae
Eleutherodactylus eneidae
Eleutherodactylus hedricki
Araneae
Tityus obtusus
Odonata
Hemiptera
Coleoptera
Diptera
Auchenorrhyncha
Sternorrhyncha
Stylomatophora
seeds

Based on studies in:
Puerto Rico, El Verde (Rainforest)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Waide RB, Reagan WB (eds) (1996) The food web of a tropical rainforest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
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General Ecology

Maintains foraging territory in winter (Stiles and Skutch 1989, Rappole and Warner 1980). In Mexico, commonly returns to the same winter territory in successive years (Rappole and Warner 1980).

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 11.9 years (wild)
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Reproduction

Clutch size is four-six (usually five). Incubation by female lasts 14-16 days; sometimes less than 14 days (Robinson 1995). Young are tended by both parents, leave nest at about ten days, can fly at six days after leaving nest, begin feeding on own at about seven days after leaving nest. One brood per year. Breeds earlier in year than most other warblers (April-June) (Robinson 1995).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Seiurus motacilla

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 3 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNTAAGCCTCCTCATCCGAGCAGAACTAGGCCAACCCGGAGCTCTCCTGGGAGACGACCAAGTCTACAACGTTGTTGTCACGGCCCATGCCTTCGTAATAATTTTCTTTATAGTCATACCGATTATAATCGGAGGGTTCGGAAACTGACTAGTCCCTTTAATAATCGGAGCCCCAGACATAGCATTCCCACGAATAAACAACATAAGCTTCTGACTACTACCACCATCATTCCTTCTCCTCCTAGCTTCCTCCACAGTCGAAGCAGGCGTTGGCACAGGATGAACAGTGTACCCCCCACTAGCTGGCAACCTAGCCCATGCCGGAGCCTCAGTCGACCTCGCAATCTTCTCCCTACACCTGGCTGGTATCTCCTCAATCCTAGGAGCGATTAACTTCATCACAACAGCAATCAACATGAAACCTCCCGCCCTCTCACAATACCAAACCCCCCTATTCGTTTGATCAGTCCTAATCACTGCAGTCCTACTACTACTATCTCTCCCAGTCCTAGCCGCAGGAATCACAATGCTTCTCACAGACCGAAACCTCAACACCACATTCTTCGACCCAGCCGGAGGAGGAGACCCAGTCCTATATCAACACCTANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Seiurus motacilla

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
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