Family New World Warblers (Parulidae)

Least Concern

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)


French: Paruline couronnée German: Pieperwaldsänger Spanish: Reinita hornera

Motacilla aurocapilla


, 1766,

“on the coast of Hispaniola, about ten leagues [c. 56 km] from land“


Proposed race canivirens (described from Georgia, in SE USA) considered indistinguishable from nominate. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. a. aurocapilla (Linnaeus, 1766) – S Canada (S Northwest Territories and NE British Columbia E to S Quebec and Nova Scotia) and S in E USA to NW Arkansas and N Georgia; migrates to non-breeding grounds in region from S Texas and Florida S through Central America to Panama and in Caribbean, occasionally S to N Colombia and Venezuela.
  • S. a. cinereus A. H. Miller, 1942 – lower E slope of Rocky Mts and adjacent Great Plains, from S Alberta and Montana S to Colorado; migrates to W Central America.
  • S. a. furvior Batchelder, 1918 – Newfoundland, in SE Canada; migrates mainly to Cuba, Bahamas and E Central America.
  • Descriptive notes

    14–16·5 cm; 15·4–26 g. Distinc­tive, largely terrestrial parulid with character­istic head-bobbing, tail-flicking gait. Nominate race has dark... read more


    Typical song a series of 8–10 loud, emphatic double notes rising in volume and usually also... read more


    Breeds in mature deciduous and mixed forest with dense understorey, also in jack pine (Pinus... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds mainly on insects and other arthropods, including snails (Gastropoda), spiders (Araneae) and earthworms (Lumbricidae), also some... read more


    Season May–Jul, egg-laying mainly May–Jun; single-brooded, but one record of male raising a second brood. Polyandry recorded,... read more


    Medium-distance to long-distance migrant. Leaves breeding grounds from late Jul, mostly during late... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common throughout range. Steady decline recorded, at least in E, since late 1970s, Breeding Bird Survey results showing 1%... read more

    Recommended citation

    Curson, J. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 6 December 2019).