Seiurus aurocapilla
Ovenbird specimens on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

A medium-sized (6 inches) wood warbler, the Ovenbird is most easily identified by its light brown upperparts, streaked breast, and orange crown patch. In many respects, this species resembles the related waterthrushes or a small true thrush, but none of those birds possesses this species’ distinctive orange crown. Male and female Ovenbirds are similar in all seasons. The Ovenbird breeds across eastern and central portions of the United States and Canada. In winter, this species may be found in central and southern Florida, the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America. The Ovenbird is absent as a breeding bird from the southeastern U.S., upper Midwest, and northern Great Plains, but may occur in those areas while on migration. Ovenbirds breed in a number of woodland habitats, primarily dense forests partially or entirely composed of deciduous trees. In winter, this species may be found in a number of subtropical or tropical forest types. Ovenbirds primarily eat small invertebrates, notably ants. In appropriate habitat, Ovenbirds may be seen walking on the forest floor while searching for insects in and among dead leaves. Birdwatchers may also listen for this species’ song, a loud “teacher teacher teacher” commonly heard in northern forests in spring. Ovenbirds are primarily active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.

DC Information

Common summer resident, arriving mid-April, leaving mid-October. Breeds in May and June in deciduous forests on or near the ground. The sexes are alike.

Specimen Information

This record likely applies to the bird on the left.
Date:  8/5/1889
Collected By:  CW Richmond
Locality:  Washington, DC
Sex:  Female
Catalog ID:  123607

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalizations

Sound from xeno-canto. XC11486 Seiurus aurocapilla (Ovenbird)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC54135 Seiurus aurocapilla (Ovenbird)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC54136 Seiurus aurocapilla (Ovenbird)