Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
HABITAT: Inhabits inland muskeg with scattered mature trees or clumps of trees near freshwater lakes and ponds in the coniferous forest belt of boreal and subarctic regions. On its breeding range it perches freely on treetops, twigs, limbs, and stumps. Outside of the breeding season it occurs inland along shallow freshwater woodland streams, ponds, bogs, flooded marshes, stagnant pools, mudflats, and barnyard puddles.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Muskegs.
NEST: Nests up to 43 feet above ground in the old nests of American robins, waxwings, rusty blackbirds, and eastern kingbirds. Usually uses nests in coniferous trees that border muskeg or open bogs, or beside a lake.
FOOD: Forages while walking about on stranded vegetation, in soft mud, or in very shallow water. Eats aquatic insects, especially larvae, also worms, grubs, dragonfly nymphs, water-scavenger beetles, water boatmen, grasshoppers, caterpillars, spiders, small crustaceans, and small frogs.
REFERENCES: Bent 1929, Cramp and Simmons 1983, Palmer 1967, Pough 1951.