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.
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.