Description ADULT Has mostly olive-brown upperparts and wings. Has a striking black-bordered, orange crown. Face is olive-brown, with white eyering surrounding the dark eye. Throat is white with black malar stripe; underparts are otherwise mostly white with bold black spots and streaks, concentrated mainly on the breast and flanks. Legs are pinkish. IMMATURE Similar to adult, but has two subtly pale wing bars; crown color is marginally less intense.
Dimensions Length: 6" (15 cm)
Habitat Common summer visitor (mainly May-Aug) to mature deciduous and mixed forests; least numerous in west of range. Winters mainly in Central America but to limited extent also in southern U.S.
Observation Tips Listen for the distinctive song, and look for birds foraging unobtrusively on forest floor.
Range Southeast, Great Lakes, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Florida, Plains, California, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Alaska, Texas, Eastern Canada, Western Canada
Voice Song is a vibrant, whistling ke'Chee ke'Chee ke'Chee ke'Chee; call is a sharp tsik.
Discussion Plump, mainly terrestrial wood-warbler. Appearance and some of its habits recall those of thrushes. Forages among leaf litter on forest floor for invertebrates. Combination of crown pattern and proportionately large eye (emphasized by striking white eyering) are diagnostic. Species is named after its domed nest that is sited on the ground. Sexes are similar.
Migration Info 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.