Definitions

ovenbird

ovenbird

[uhv-uhn-burd]
ovenbird, common name for a member of the family Furnariidae, primitive passerine birds, which build elaborate, domed nests of clay or dig tunnels in the ground to lay their eggs. Ovenbirds are most common in South America, where most are forest dwellers, although a few species are found on the coast and some high in the Andes. The North American ovenbird is not a member of this group, but is a warbler. True ovenbirds are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Furnariidae.
Ovenbirds are also the Furnariidae family of Neotropical suboscines, specifically the tribe Furnarini which contains the horneros.

The Ovenbird, Seiurus aurocapillus, is a small songbird of the New World warbler family.

Ovenbirds are 14 cm long and weigh 18 g. They have white underparts streaked with black, and olive-brown upperparts. They have white eye rings, pinkish legs and thin pointed bills. They have orange lines on the top of their crowns, which are bordered on each side with dark brown.

The song of the Ovenbird is a loud teacher-teacher-teacher. The syllables can also be reversed, producing the pattern erteach-erteach-erteach. The call is a dry chut.

Their breeding habitats are mature deciduous and mixed forests, especially sites with less undergrowth, which can be found across Canada and the eastern United States. Ovenbirds migrate to the southeastern United States, the West Indies, and from Mexico to northern South America.

This bird seems just capable of crossing the Atlantic, as there have been a handful of records in Norway, Ireland and Great Britain. However, half of the six finds were of dead birds. A live Ovenbird on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly in October 2004 was taken into care, as it was in bad condition.

Ovenbirds forage on the ground in dead leaves, sometimes hovering or catching insects in flight. This bird frequently tilts its tail up while walking. These birds mainly eat insects, spiders and snails, and also include fruit in their diet during winter.

The nest, referred to as the "oven" (which gives the bird its name), is a domed structure placed on the ground, woven from vegetation, and containing a side entrance. Both parents feed the young birds.

The Ovenbird is vulnerable to nest parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird which is becoming more plentiful in some areas, but the Ovenbirds' numbers appear to be remaining stable.

In culture

The Ovenbird is subject to the poem "The Oven Bird" by Robert Frost, published first 1916 in his poetry collection Mountain Interval.

Footnotes

References

  • Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • (1994): New World Warblers. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-3932-6
  • (2007): The potential of fruiting trees to enhance converted habitats for migrating birds in southern Mexico. Bird Conservation International 17(1): 45-61. PDF fulltext
  • (1989): A guide to the birds of Costa Rica. Comistock, Ithaca. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4

External links

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