LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AGFC) - A bird of forest streams, the Louisiana Waterthrush looks more like a thrush or sparrow than the warbler it is. It can be recognized by its loud ringing call and constant bobbing of its tail.

This warbler is yet another Neotropical migrant that spends its winters in Southern Central America, and its summers in the eastern U.S. They are present in Arkansas from late March through early October. Their preferred habitat is rocky bottomed streams flowing through hilly, deciduous forests. There are plenty of places in Arkansas that fit this description, but locally, the Little Red River is an excellent place to hear and see this bird! It has a loud, ringing call that will help you hone in on its location. Then it is easily recognized by is habit of foraging near or on the ground, and the constant bobbing of its tail. Its primary food sources are arthropods, earthworms, and the occasional small frog or fish.

It nests in Arkansas, and builds its nest on the ground. Nests are open cup, made of mud, leaves, plant stems, pine needles, and small twigs built on a foundation of wet leaves. They are lined with fine plant stems, rootlets, hair, and moss. Louisiana Waterthrushes may construct their nest’s entranceway of whole dead leaves. Nests are placed in small hollows or cavities on stream banks, under fallen logs, or within roots of an upturned tree.

This bird is very similar in appearance to the closely related Northern Waterthrush, but their songs and their habitats, while similar, differ significantly. The pitch of the beginning notes of the Louisiana's song usually descend, just as does the hilly stream that is its preferred habitat. The Northern Waterthrush prefers bogs and waters that are flat, just as its beginning notes stay on the same pitch.

(Source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology)