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Number of species: 80

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Northern Waterthrush - Parkesia noveboracensis

Northern Waterthrushes are easiest to age if pale tips to the tertials are present, indicating a HY/SY bird; otherwise rectrix shape is the best clue, but by spring some intermediates are not reliably aged. Determination of sex is generally limited to brood patch / cloacal protuberance during the breeding season

Quick Tips:

  • Look at the tertials - in fall HY birds have narrow rusty or pale tips (sometimes still present on SY birds in spring); absence of such tips is not a reliable indicator of AHY/ASY birds
  • Examine the rectrices - on HY/SY birds they are relatively narrow and tapered to a point, while on AHY/ASY birds they are more broad and rounded toward the tip, and may include white spots

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory

Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.
Age / Sex  Image sets 
Hatch year / Unknown
Tertials often (but not always) with narrow rusty or pale tips; rectrices somewhat narrow and tapered, uniformly brown
Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00444-Parkesia_noveboracensis_AOU_7_52-2651.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00444-Parkesia_noveboracensis_AOU_7_52-2649.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00444-Parkesia_noveboracensis_AOU_7_52-2650.jpg
After hatch year / Unknown
Wing uniformly dark brown; rectrices broad and rounded, sometimes with narrow white tips to the outer feathers (r5 and r6)
Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00447-Parkesia_noveboracensis_AOU_7_52-2654.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00447-Parkesia_noveboracensis_AOU_7_52-2652.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00447-Parkesia_noveboracensis_AOU_7_52-2653.jpg
Second year / Unknown
Tertials more worn and faded than rest of wing; rectrices somewhat narrow and tapered, uniformly brown
Thumbnail - MG2-2030-67555-Parkesia_noveboracensis_AOU_7_52-2639.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2030-67555-Parkesia_noveboracensis_AOU_7_52-2637.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2030-67555-Parkesia_noveboracensis_AOU_7_52-2638.jpg
After second year / Unknown
Wing uniform in colour and wear; rectrices broad and rounded, sometimes with narrow white tips to the outer feathers (r5 and r6)
Thumbnail - MG2-2401-97351-Parkesia_noveboracensis_AOU_7_52-2645.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2401-97351-Parkesia_noveboracensis_AOU_7_52-2643.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2401-97351-Parkesia_noveboracensis_AOU_7_52-2644.jpg

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
Juvenile / Unknown Cinnamon edging to feathers on back; buffy wing bars
Number of species: 80

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