Bird Database


(Seiurus aurocapilla)

State of the Birds
At a Glance







Habitat loss and fragmentation, Predation, Collisions

Conservation Actions

Maintain large unfragmented forest blocks


(Seiurus aurocapilla)

Ovenbirds are one of the most conspicuous residents of mature deciduous forests in eastern North America, at least once you know what they sound like. Their loud “teacher teacher teacher” song is uttered almost continuously, including later in the day and season than those of many other warblers. They also have a very different song that is given primarily in flight and at night. It starts with a series of chips, shifts into a descending series of phrases that vaguely resemble the typical song, and ends with a jumble of chirps and warbles – and generally catches you unaware as you’re listening for owls or other species in a dark forest.

Visually the Ovenbird is brown and streaked like a small thrush, and like thrushes spends much of its time foraging on the ground. Its habit of holding its tail cocked up as it walks along the forest floor has led to several local names on its Caribbean wintering grounds that compare it to a chicken. Ovenbirds also nest on the ground. The nest is a domed structure with a side opening that resembles an old-fashioned bread oven, and from this the bird gets its name. It is usually built into the leaf litter and further camouflaged with leaves and sticks.

Because they nest on the ground, Ovenbirds are highly vulnerable to nest predators like chipmunks, snakes, and weasels. Sensitivity to predation may be one reason they tend to avoid edges and prefer nesting deeper into the forest interior. They are even known to avoid logging roads through otherwise intact forest. Ovenbird populations in northern New England are relatively stable, suggesting that fragmentation here has not reached the tipping point. In contrast, they are declining in the mid-Atlantic states where fragmentation for both development and agriculture are more pervasive.

Seasonal Abundance

Relative abundance based on eBird data. Numbers indicate likelihood of finding this species in suitable habitat at a given time of year, not actual numbers encountered.

Range Map

Information for the species profiles on this website was compiled from a combination of the sources listed below.

  • The Birds of New Hampshire. By Allan R. Keith and Robert B. Fox. 2013. Memoirs of the Nuttall Ornithological club No. 19.

  • Atlas of the Breeding Birds of New Hampshire. Carol R. Foss, ed. 1994. Arcadia Publishing Company and Audubon Society of New Hampshire

  • Birds of the World. Various authors and dates. Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

  • Data from the Breeding Bird Survey

  • Data from the Christmas Bird Count