Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Jim Parrish
Photo Copyright Jim Parrish

The northern waterthrush, Seiurus noveboracensis, breeds in wooded swamps and bogs in the forests of Canada, Alaska, the northeastern United States, and parts of the northern United States. It winters in tropical mangroves in southern Mexico, Central and South America, and parts of the West Indies. On rare occasions, the northern waterthrush may be seen near water in Utah during its migration.

Northern waterthrushes normally forage for food along the ground or in shallow water. Their diet consists of adult and larval insects, snails, and clams. Males and females pair off as soon as females reach the breeding grounds. The male shows her to a chosen area, and the female selects the actual nest location. She usually selects a site near water, hidden in a large mass of roots or under an overhanging bank. A cup-shaped nest is constructed using moss and leaves, and is lined with grass and animal hair. The female incubates four eggs for twelve days. The young leave the nest after nine days, but both parents continue feeding them for another month, at which time the young are independent.


  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birderís handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Behle, W. H., Sorensen, E. D. and C. M. White. 1985. Utah birds: a revised checklist. Utah Museum of Natural History, Occasional Publication No. 4. Salt Lake City, UT.

  • Eaton, S. W. 1995. Northern Waterthrush (Seiurus noveboracensis). Birds of North America 182.