Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
© Dick Daniels/Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0)

Ovenbird

Ovenbird
Seiurus aurocapilla
Perching Birds | Family: Wood Warblers, Parulidae

An estimated 49% of the species' North American population breeds within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

This warbler gets its name from its peculiar ground nest, which resembles a miniature Dutch oven. A male frequently has more than one mate (as many as three in one instance); it also has been observed that two males, as well as the female, may feed the young.

Description

6" (15 cm). A terrestrial, thrush-like warbler. Olive green above, white below with dark streaks; conspicuous eye ring; orange-brown crown bordered with black stripes; pinkish legs.

Voice

Loud staccato song-teacher, teacher, teacher-with geographical variation in emphasis. Flight song, often given at night, is bubbling and exuberant series of jumbled notes ending with the familiar teacher, teacher.

Nesting

4 or 5 brown-spotted white eggs in a domed or oven-shaped nest of dead leaves and plant fibers, lined with grass. Nest is placed on the ground, with a side entrance.

Habitat

Mature, dry forests with little undergrowth.

Range/Migration

The spring migration of this species occurs as two separate movements. Eastern birds follow the Atlantic flyway, and all breeders from west of the Appalachians move up the Mississippi flyway. Although the Ovenbird prefers dense vegetation during migratory stopovers, the males (who precede the females by 5 to 7 days) tend to sing quite vigorously during migration, so their passage is easily noted. During winter, Ovenbirds are found in a variety of habitats including secondary forests and shade-grown coffee plantations.

Breeds from west-central Canada east to Maritimes, and south to northern Gulf Coast states, and South Carolina. Winters from Gulf Coast and Florida to South America.