The Ovenbird is a member of the Order Passeriformes,
which includes the perching birds. It is in Family Parulidae, which
consists of the New World wood warblers. The Ovenbird is in the
Genus Seiurus, which also includes the Northern Waterthrush
and Louisiana Waterthrush.
The Ovenbird is a small songbird with an olive brown
back and white underside with bold, dark streaked spots. Ovenbirds
have a white eyering and an orange crown bordered by black stripes.
They are sexually monomorphic, so males and females have the same
appearance. Immature birds look like adults, but are less brightly
colored. Ovenbirds are approximately 6 inches long.
Ovenbirds breed in mature deciduous and coniferous
forests in northern and northeastern North America. They winter in
primary and second growth forests in southern Florida, Mexico,
Central America, and the Carribbean.
diet of the Ovenbird consists of forest invertebrates.
They learn high-density prey locations and repeatedly
visit those sites. Ovenbirds primarily obtain food by
picking off prey from leaf litter on the forest floor.
usually seen walking on the ground instead of hopping,
running, or flying. They pump their tails in a
wave-like motion and the tail is often held high with
the wings below it. Their flight is described as low,
firm, and steady. Male interaction is vigorous and
prolonged when territories are being established. Males
will chase and vocalize to defend their territories.
Physical contact is rare.
Ovenbirds are generally monogamous, but polyandry and polygyny have been recorded. Only the female builds the
nest. The nest consists of a woven domed cup of dead
leaves and plant stems, with the entrance on the side.
Nests are placed on the ground and can be lined with
hair. Ovenbirds have one brood per year and one egg is
laid per day until a clutch is complete. A clutch
usually contains 4-5 eggs and is incubated for 11-13
days. Males do not
usually come to the nest during incubation, but may feed
the female. Ovenbirds have altricial young which
means they are immobile, blind and helpless. Both sexes
will care for young. Young will fledge 8-10 days after
The territorial male
song is described as a loud, ringing “Teacher-teacher”
phrase. The attenuated song is used in male-male
interactions and is introduced by a series of “whink”
notes and a “ple-bleep” vocalization. This is followed
by a rambling section including one or more chip notes
and sometimes additional territorial song phrases or
Where to see them
Wildlife Refuges, such as Iroquois National Wildlife