Seiurus aurocapilla - (Linnaeus, 1766)
Ovenbird
Other English Common Names: ovenbird
Synonym(s): Seiurus aurocapillus (Linnaeus, 1766)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Seiurus aurocapilla (Linnaeus, 1766) (TSN 726205)
French Common Names: paruline couronnée
Spanish Common Names: Chipe Suelero
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103515
Element Code: ABPBX10010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Perching Birds
Image 7652

© Larry Master

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Passeriformes Parulidae Seiurus
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Seiurus aurocapillus
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly known as Seiurus aurocapillus, but changed for grammatical reasons (AOU 2003).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 09Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 03Dec1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large range; still common in many areas, though significant declines have occurred in some regions.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5M (29Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S4B,S2N), Arizona (S2M), Arkansas (S4B), Colorado (S2B), Connecticut (S5B), Delaware (S5B), District of Columbia (S2B,S3N), Florida (SNA), Georgia (S5), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (S4), Indiana (S4B), Iowa (S4B,S4N), Kansas (S1B), Kentucky (S5B), Louisiana (SNA), Maine (S5), Maryland (S5B), Massachusetts (S5B), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (S1B), Missouri (SNRB), Montana (S4B), Nebraska (S4), New Hampshire (S5B), New Jersey (S4B), New Mexico (S4N), New York (S5B), North Carolina (S5B,S1N), North Dakota (SNRB), Ohio (S5), Oklahoma (S2B), Pennsylvania (S5B), Rhode Island (S5B), South Carolina (SNRB), South Dakota (S3B), Tennessee (S4), Texas (S4), Vermont (S5B), Virginia (S5), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (S5B), Wisconsin (S5B), Wyoming (S3B)
Canada Alberta (S5B), British Columbia (S5B), Manitoba (S5B), New Brunswick (S5B,S5M), Newfoundland Island (S3B,SUM), Northwest Territories (S3S4B), Nova Scotia (S5B), Ontario (S4B), Prince Edward Island (S5B), Quebec (S5B), Saskatchewan (S5B), Yukon Territory (S1B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDING: northeastern British Columbia and southern Mackenzie to central Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, south to southern Alberta, western Montana, northern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, northern Alabama, and Carolinas; disjunct population in central Colorado (Van Horn and Donovan 1994, AOU 1998). NON-BREEDING: occasionally in U.S. in southern Texas, Gulf Coast, and North Carolina; most commonly in Mexico, along Pacific coast from Sinaloa south and along Atlantic coast from southern Tamaulipas south; also on Yucatan peninsula; less common throughout Central America, rarely to Colombia and Venezuela; also common in West Indies from central Bahamas to northern Lesser Antilles (fairly common in Puerto Rico and St. John); perhaps annual in Netherlands Antilles (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Van Horn and Donovan 1994, AOU 1998).

Number of Occurrences: > 300

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: SUMMARY: On the breeding grounds, forest fragmentation has resulted in increased Brown-headed Cowbird (MOLOTHRUS ATER) nest parasitism, increased nest predation by a variety of predators, and reduced pairing and reproductive success. Habitat is also lost or degraded, in the short-term, by clearcutting or other forms of timber harvest that open the canopy.

TIMBER HARVEST: Reduction of the forest canopy is also a threat. Forest thinning associated with recreational cottage construction in Ontario, fuelwood cutting in Massachusetts, and timber harvest in New York reduced habitat suitability (Chadwick et al. 1986, Clark et al. 1983, Webb et al. 1977). In Arkansas, restoration of Red-cockaded Woodpecker (PICOIDES BOREALIS) habitat (midstory hardwood removal followed by burning) eliminated Ovenbirds (Wilson et al. 1995). Habitat changes associated with waste-water irrigation can influence distribution.

This species apparently reaches higher densities than elsewhere in its range within the western boreal forest of Canada, and is threatened there by forest conversion to agriculture along the southern edges of the boreal zone. In Saskatchewan alone, 4368 square kilometers of forest was lost to agriculture in the period 1966-1994, a rate of -0.87%/year (Hobson et al. 2002). Much of the remaining southern boreal forest in western Canada has been leased to forestry companies (Cummings et al. 1994, Stelfox 1995). Deforestation is the primary threat to wintering birds.

NEST PARASITISM: Nests are parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds throughout the range (Van Horn and Donovan 1994). Percentage of parasitized nests range from 10% in Quebec (Terrill 1961) to 80% in Wisconsin (Brittingham and Temple 1983). Nest parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds decreases with increasing distance from the forest edge. Whereas nest parasitism was 100% within 99 meters of forest edge, it declined to zero 3300 meters from the edge (Brittingham and Temple 1983).

FOREST FRAGMENTATION: Frequency of Brown-headed Cowbird nest parasitism is also influenced by forest fragmentation. Frequency of nest parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds was lower in contiguous forested tracts in Missouri (2.5%) and Wisconsin and Minnesota (4%) than in forest fragments in Missouri (66.5%) and Wisconsin and Minnesota (19%; Donovan et al. 1995). In fragmented landscapes, Ovenbirds raise more Brown-headed Cowbirds than in unfragmented landscapes (Porneluzi and Faaborg 1999). Forest fragmentation also decreases male pairing success and nesting success (Burke and Nol 1998, Gibbs and Faaborg 1990, Porneluzi and Faaborg 1999, Porneluzi et al. 1993, Van Horn et al 1995, Villard et al. 1993). Male pairing success varies from zero in small forest fragments within an agricultural landscape to 100% in large tracts (Burke and Nol 1998). However, in managed-forest landscapes, forest fragmentation may not impair male pairing success (Sabine et al. 1996). Forest-dividing roads and powerline corridors can produce edge effects and reduce population density and/or male pairing success (Ortega and Capen 1999, Rich et al. 1994).

PREDATION: The predation rate of 14 nests in oak-hickory forest in Arkansas was 28.6% (Martin 1993). Nest predation may be affected by proximity to forest edge. In a forest fragment within an agricultural landscape, predation of artificial dome nests was significantly greater near the forest edge (<20 meters) than in the forest interior (200 and 400 meters from the edge; Linder and Bollinger 1995). Natural nests in similar forest fragments are also heavily predated (Donovan et al. 1995, Porneluzi et al. 1993). In managed-forest landscapes, however, proximity to edge may or may not influence nest predation. Whereas nesting success was negatively impacted by proximity to edge in a managed-forest landscape in New Hampshire (King et al. 1996), proximity to edge had no influence on nest success in similar habitat in Minnesota (Hanski et al. 1996). Nest predators include various snakes, the Blue Jay (CYANOCITTA CRISTATA), Brown-headed Cowbird, Red Squirrel (TAMIASCIURUS HUDSONICUS), Eastern Gray Squirrel (SCIURUS CAROLINENSIS), Raccoon (PROCYON LOTOR), Striped Skunk (MEPHITIS MEPHITIS), and weasel (MUSTELA sp.). Broad-winged Wawks (BUTEO PLATYPTERUS) prey on young and adults. Suspected predators include the Barred Oowl (STRIX VARIA), American Crow (CORVA BRACHYRHYNCHOS), Common Grackle (QUISCALUS QUISCULA), Deer Mouse (PEROMYSCUS MANICULATUS), Eastern Chipmunk (TAMIAS STRIATUS), Northern Flying Squirrel (GLAUCOMYS VOLANS), Virginia Opossum (DIDELPHIS VIRGINIANA), Red Fox (VULPES VULPES), Domestic Cat (FELIS DOMESTICUS) and Black Bear (URSUS AMERICANUS; Hahn 1937, Reitsma et al. 1990, Van Horn and Donovan 1994).

OTHER: Numerous individuals are killed by striking television towers and other similar tall structures during migration (Taylor and Kershner 1986). In Pennsylvania, less likely to inhabit tracts of forest irrigated with waste-water than non-irrigated forest (Yahner 1995).

WINTERING: On the wintering grounds threatened by deforestation, replacement of diverse native plant communities with agricultural and silvicultural monocultures, and subsistence hunting (Arendt 1992).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Declining in some regions of the breeding range, although overall trend seems relatively stable or slowly increasing. North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data indicate a small, but statistically significant population increase (0.6%/year) from 1966-2000 (Sauer et al. 2001). Population trends differ in various portions of North America. A small but statistically significant increase was observed in eastern North America (0.6%/year, n = 1249), whereas non-significant declines were estimated in central and western North America. For the more recent period, 1980-2000, both western North America and Canada showed statistically significant declines of -4.9 and 1.0%/year respectively (Sauer et al. 2001).

Populations declined in some portions of eastern North America as determined by other monitoring methods. Counts of migrants at Long Point, Ontario declined significantly (-6.4%/year) during the 27-year period, 1961-1988 (Hussell et al. 1992). The breeding population at Sapsucker Woods, New York, declined 62% between censuses in 1949-1950 and 1979-1980 (Litwin and Smith 1992). Spring migration count data collected in Massachusetts during a 53-year period (1937-1989) indicated a significant population decline (Hill and Hagan 1991). In the Smoky Mountains, however, the population did not decline between surveys conducted in 1949 and 1983 (Wilcove 1988). Few data are available to examine trends on the winter range. Christmas Bird Count data for Florida and Texas indicate a significant decline (-0.7%/year) from 1959-1988 (Sauer et al. 1996). However, because the majority overwinter in Central America these data are of limited value. The population of wintering birds studied in Puerto Rico generally declined during a 16-year period, although an increase in the last two years suggested the population was recovering (Faaborg and Arendt 1992).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: northeastern British Columbia and southern Mackenzie to central Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, south to southern Alberta, western Montana, northern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, northern Alabama, and Carolinas; disjunct population in central Colorado (Van Horn and Donovan 1994, AOU 1998). NON-BREEDING: occasionally in U.S. in southern Texas, Gulf Coast, and North Carolina; most commonly in Mexico, along Pacific coast from Sinaloa south and along Atlantic coast from southern Tamaulipas south; also on Yucatan peninsula; less common throughout Central America, rarely to Colombia and Venezuela; also common in West Indies from central Bahamas to northern Lesser Antilles (fairly common in Puerto Rico and St. John); perhaps annual in Netherlands Antilles (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Van Horn and Donovan 1994, AOU 1998).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CO Boulder (08013), Custer (08027), Douglas (08035), El Paso (08041), Elbert (08039)*, Jefferson (08059), Larimer (08069), Pueblo (08101), Routt (08107)
ID Ada (16001)
KS Doniphan (20043), Douglas (20045), Geary (20061), Jefferson (20087), Leavenworth (20103), Linn (20107)
MS Calhoun (28013)*, Grenada (28043)*, Lafayette (28071), Lowndes (28087), Marshall (28093), Pontotoc (28115)*, Tishomingo (28141), Winston (28159), Yalobusha (28161)*
NE Boyd (31015), Brown (31017), Cherry (31031), Holt (31089), Keya Paha (31103), Knox (31107), Rock (31149)
OK LeFlore (40079)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Upper Tombigbee (03160101)+, Noxubee (03160108)+
06 Bear (06030006)+
08 Yocona (08030203)+, Coldwater (08030204)+, Yalobusha (08030205)+*
10 Middle Niobrara (10150004)+, Lower Niobrara (10150007)+, Lewis and Clark Lake (10170101)+, Upper South Platte (10190002)+, Middle South Platte-Cherry Creek (10190003)+, Clear (10190004)+*, St. Vrain (10190005)+, Cache La Poudre (10190007)+, Bijou (10190011)+*, Tarkio-Wolf (10240005)+, Independence-Sugar (10240011)+, Lower Republican (10250017)+, Upper Kansas (10270101)+, Delaware (10270103)+, Lower Kansas (10270104)+, Lower Marais Des Cygnes (10290102)+
11 Upper Arkansas (11020002)+, Fountain (11020003)+, Horse (11020008)+*, Big Sandy (11020011)+*, Rush (11020012)+*, Mountain Fork (11140108)+
14 Upper Yampa (14050001)+
17 Boise-Mores (17050112)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small bird (wood warbler).
General Description: A plump-looking, 15-cm-long bird with a thin pointed bill, pinkish legs, russet crowned bordered by darks stripes, bold white eye ring, olive dorsum, and white venter with bold dark streaks of spots (NGS 1983).
Reproduction Comments: PHENOLOGY: Nests from May-July (Terres 1991). First breeds in the spring after hatching (Van Horn and Donovan 1994).

OVIPOSITION/INCUBATION: Typically produces one clutch per year, although sometimes two or three (Hahn, 1937, Zach and Falls 1975). Average clutch size for 27 nests in Michigan was 4.7 eggs (range = 3-6). First clutches typically had five eggs, subsequent clutches 3-5 (Hahn 1937; statistically significant difference between first and later clutches; Zach and Falls 1975). Mean clutch size of 78 clutches was 4.4 eggs (Van Horn and Donovan 1994). A female that nested three times in one season in Michigan laid a total of 10 eggs (Hahn 1937), another in Ontario laid 13 eggs (Zach and Falls 1975). Eggs are laid every other day and incubation begins after the penultimate egg is laid (Hahn 1937). Females alone incubate the eggs and brood the young. Incubation period ranges from 11.5-14 days (mean = 12.25).

FLEDGING: Young leave the nest when 6.5-8.5 days old (mean = 8), and are capable of flight at 11 days old (Hahn 1937). Both parents feed the young. The brood is typically divided between the parents after the young leave the nest.

NEST SUCCESS: In Michigan, 63.4% of eggs hatched and 43.5% of young fledged (Hahn 1937); in Minnesota, nest success (fledged at least one young) ranged from 75-100% (Hanski, et al. 1996) and in Arkansas, it was 71.4% (Martin 1993).

Ecology Comments: TERRITORY SIZE/DENSITY: Territory size and male density varies with prey abundance and size of inhabited forest. Territory size of 13 males studied in Ontario ranged from 0.6-1.6 hectares (mean = 0.8) and inversely correlated with the biomass of invertebrate prey, with territory size decreasing as prey biomass increased (Stenger 1958). A negative correlation between territory size and prey abundance was also observed in Tennessee (Smith and Shugart 1987). In Ontario, territory size was significantly smaller during a spruce budworm (CHORISTONEURA FUMIFERANA) outbreak than during non-budworm years (Zach and Falls 1975). Also territorial on the wintering grounds (Rappole and Warner 1980).

In Ontario, densities of males ranged from 0.33-8.3/10 hectares, and increased significantly with increasing woodlot core area (core area is forest 3100 meters from the forest edge; Burke and Nol 1998). In central Missouri, male population density ranged from 0.66-1.73/10 hectares, and increased with increasing forest size (Wenny et al. 1993). Density of males was positively related to size of forest tract and core area in eastern Pennsylvania, ranging from 1.3-7.2 males/10 hectares (Porneluzi et al. 1993). In a managed-forest landscape in New Brunswick, density of males in forest fragments (1.1/10 ha) did not differ statistically from a large contiguous forested tract (1.9/10 ha; Sabine et al. 1996). In northern hardwood forest in New Hampshire, average population density was 13.5 birds/10 hectares (Sabo and Holmes 1983).

SITE FIDELITY: Exhibits breeding site fidelity. In Illinois, 3 of 8 (37.5%) of those banded one year were recaptured the subsequent year (Robinson 1992). Of 22 adults and 40 young banded one year in Michigan, 10 adults (45%) and one yearling (2.5%) returned to the study area the following year. The three returning males occupied their former territory, whereas females either returned to their former territory or occupied an adjacent territory. The following year, the three males again returned and occupied their former territories (Hahn (1937). In New Jersey, 36% of adults and 10% of young banded in one year returned the following year (Leck et al. 1988). In Missouri, an average of 41% of males banded one year returned the next; 64% had second-year territories with >50% overlap with first-year territories, and 26% were adjacent to or overlapped <50% with the territory of the previous year (Porneluzi and Faaborg 1999). Also exhibits site fidelity to wintering grounds (Faaborg and Arendt 1984, Kricher and Davis 1986, Martin and Carr 1986).

POPULATION PARAMETERS: Annual survivorship of birds in Pennsylvania and Michigan was estimated to be 54% (Hahn 1937, Savidge and Davis 1974 cited in Van Horn and Donovan 1994). Overwinter survival rates did not differ between mature and early-successional forests in Belize (Conway et al. 1995). Oldest known individual was 9 years old (Dowell and Robbins 1998).

PARASITES: Adults are host to six species of external parasites, including two lice (MENACANTHUS CHRYSOPHAEUM, MYRSIDEA INCERTA), three ticks (HAEMAPHYSALIS LEPORISPALUSTRIS, IXODES BRUNNEUS, IXODES DAMMINI), and one mite (LIPONYSSUS SYLVIARIUM; Peters 1936 cited in Van Horn and Donovan 1994). Mites have also been found on nestlings (Hahn 1937).

Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Principally follows the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways during migration, although some individuals use the Pacific flyway. Migration is apparently nocturnal (Van Horn and Donovan 1994). Spring migrants leave Costa Rica beginning in March and Puerto Rico in April (Raffaele 1989, Stiles and Skutch 1989), and arrive in Florida from late March through mid-May, with a peak in mid-April (Bent 1953, Taylor and Kershner 1986). In Kentucky, males typically return during the third week of April (Palmer-Ball 1996). Arrives in Michigan from late April through mid-May (Hahn 1937) and in Canada in late May and early June (Bent 1953). Based on kills at towers, fall migration peaks during the latter half of September in Ohio, Illinois, and Iowa, mid-September in New Jersey and late September through early October in Florida (Van Horn and Donovan 1994). Fall migrants arrive in the Neotropics from early September through late October (Raffaele 1989, Stiles and Skutch 1989). Sexes may migrate separately; males in Michigan arrive 9-14 days ahead of females (Hahn 1937).
Estuarine Habitat(s): Scrub-shrub wetland
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: BREEDING: Typically nests in mid-late successional, closed-canopied deciduous or deciduous-coniferous forests that have deep leaf litter and limited understory (Van Horn and Donovan 1994). Also nests in coniferous forest if deciduous forest is unavailable (Noon et al. 1980). Inhabited forest types include oak (QUERCUS)-hickory (CARYA), oak-pine (PINUS), maple (ACER)-basswood (TILIA), maple-birch (BETULA), maple-birch-beech (FAGUS GRANDIFOLIA), hemlock (TSUGA CANADENSIS)-oak, Trembling Aspen (POPULUS TREMULOIDES), and spruce (PICEA)-fir (ABIES) (Askins and Philbrick 1987, Freedman et al. 1981, Titterington et al. 1979, Van Horn and Donovan 1994, Westworth and Telfer 1993). Nests on the ground (Hahn 1937). In studies of regenerating forests following clearcutting, found to be absent from, or in low densities in, young, shrubby, open-canopied stands; whereas they occurred in relative abundance in older, closed-canopied stands (Freedman et al. 1981, Thompson et al. 1992, Titterington et al 1979, Webb et al. 1977, Westworth and Telfer 1993).

NON-BREEDING: In the Caribbean region, utilizes a variety of habitats including coastal dry forest, elfin woodland, forest edge, pine forests, riparian forests, wet forests, wetlands, and urban areas (Arendt 1992). In Costa Rica, inhabits primary and secondary forest (Blake and Loiselle 1992); prefers shady understory of forest with well-developed shrub layer (Stiles and Skutch 1989). In Puerto Rico and surrounding islands, occurs in interior forests as well as mangroves and dry thickets (Raffaele 1989). Considered a forest generalist on the Yucatan Peninsula (Lynch 1989), and captured with equal frequency in primary and secondary forest in Veracruz (Rappole et al. 1992). In the Virgin Islands, inhabits both moist and dry evergreen forest, as well as transition zones between these forest types (Askins et al. 1992). Low numbers inhabit coffee, citrus, cacao, and pine plantations in Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Belize and Costa Rica (Robbins et al. 1992). Captured most frequently in pine savanna in Belize (Petit et al. 1992).

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: BREEDING: Forages for invertebrate prey, principally that inhabiting the leaf litter, while walking or hopping along the ground. Prey is picked from leaf litter, off low vegetation, and the sides of logs (Stenger 1958). Foraging is concentrated in areas of greatest food abundance (Zach and Falls 1979). May forage in trees during outbreaks of larval insects such as the spruce budworm (CHORISTONEURA FUMIFERANA) and striped maple worm (Stenger 1958, Zach and Falls 1975). In New Hampshire, >50% of foraging attacks were directed towards prey in or on the leaf litter (Holmes and Robinson 1988). The stomach contents of 30 adults, obtained using an emetic, was dominated by Coleopterans, Dipterans, Hymenopterans, and Lepidopteran larvae (Holmes and Robinson 1988). In Ontario, the stomach contents of 98 dissected adults contained mostly leaf-litter-inhabiting insects, principally Coleopterans, Hymenopterans, Lepidopteran larvae, and unidentified insect larvae. Invertebrate prey are generally consumed in proportion to their availability (Stenger 1958).

NON-BREEDING: The winter diet includes plant as well as animal material. In Florida, Ovenbirds have been observed feeding on red mulberries (MORUS RUBRA). In Puerto Rico, the stomachs of 13 dissected individuals contained 62.5% animal and 37.5% plant material (Bent 1953).

Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 15 centimeters
Weight: 19 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: On the breeding grounds, forest fragmentation has resulted in increased Brown-headed Cowbird (MOLOTHRUS ATER) nest parasitism, increased nest predation by a variety of predators, and reduced pairing and reproductive success. Habitat is also lost or degraded, in the short-term, by clearcutting or other forms of timber harvest that open the canopy. Deforestation is the primary threat to wintering birds. Large forested tracts are required to maintain viable (self-sustaining) breeding populations. Minimum forest fragment size necessary to maintain a viable breeding population varies with geography and surrounding land use. Due to the prevalence of Brown-headed Cowbirds, forest fragments in the western portion of the Ovenbird's range need to be larger than those in the eastern portion. Forest fragments in an agricultural landscape need to be larger than those in a managed-forest landscape. In addition, forest fragments isolated from other forested tracts are less suitable than fragments close to other forests. Mature, closed-canopied forests are preferred for breeding. Where management objectives include timber harvest, single-tree selection is the most appropriate means of extracting the timber resource while simultaneously maintaining habitat.
Restoration Potential: Does not appear to need urgent recovery/restoration efforts. As second-growth forests mature, breeding habitat should become more suitable. However, these second-growth forests are also becoming more suitable for harvest. If logging is not conducted sustainably, large areas of habitat will be lost (P. Porneluzi, pers. comm.). The trend towards protecting larger tracts of land and restoring pre-Columbian plant communities, such as deciduous forest, should result in additional suitable breeding habitat. Recolonization of reforested areas following timber harvest indicates adaptability to changes in habitat availability/suitability. For example, a Connecticut population that declined following cutting of a nearby forest rebounded with reforestation (Askins and Philbrick 1987).
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Although classified as a forest-interior, area sensitive species (Freemark and Collins 1992), will nest in woodlots as small as 4 hectares in size (Forman et al. 1976, Galli et al. 1976). Minimum area requirements vary across the range. The minimum forested area required to maintain a viable breeding population in Maryland was estimated to be 100 hectares, though maximum densities occur in forested tracts >2650 hectares (Robbins 1979 cited in Bushman and Therres 1988). In Missouri, did not occur in tracts <341 hectares in extent (Hayden et al. 1985). Burke and Nol (1998) suggest that the minimum forest fragment size necessary for successful reproduction in Ontario is 380 hectares, with a 20 hectare core area (amount of habitat at least 100 meters from edge). Due to edge effects, Van Horn et al. (1995) recommended that calculations of the minimum-area requirement focus on core areas (which they defined as habitat 300 meters from the forest edge) rather than the area of the entire forest. Fragmentation effects are influenced not only by fragment size, but by the habitat surrounding the fragment. A forest fragment embedded within an agricultural landscape and isolated from other forest fragments is less suitable than a fragment embedded within a managed-forest landscape or close to other forest fragments. In South Carolina, for example, Ovenbirds inhabited hardwood stands surrounded by pine plantations, but were absent from hardwood stands of similar size surrounded by agricultural habitat (Kilgo et al. 1997). In Minnesota, edge effects (reduced nesting success due to nest predation/parasitism) were not detected in a managed forest landscape (Hanski et al. 1996). In Maryland, numbers were positively correlated with forest patch size, but negatively correlated with distance to forest tract 350 hectares in size (Lynch and Whigham 1984). As a result of reduced pairing/reproductive success, small, isolated forest fragments can act as reproductive sinks (Porneluzi et al. 1993, Porneluzi and Faaborg 1999). Forest fragmentation effects can be produced by forest-dividing corridors. For example, abundance was reduced significantly by forest-dividing powerline corridors averaging 22.5 meters wide (Rich et al. 1994). Observed only in riparian corridors 3175 meters wide in a study of bird use of riparian corridors traversing agricultural land in Iowa (Stauffer and Best 1980).
Management Requirements: Large, contiguous forested tracts are needed for successful breeding in order to maintain long-term population viability (Burke and Nol 1998, Porneluzi and Faaborg 1999). Larger tracts are required in the Midwest, smaller in the north and east where densities are higher (P. Porneluzi, pers. comm.). If setting aside large tracts is not possible, land managers should strive to minimize edge-to-interior ratios on small tracts, and prioritize for protection those small tracts in close proximity to forests that meet or exceed the minimum area requirement (Van Horn et al. 1995). In managed-forest landscapes, edge effects can be minimized by making clearcuts as circular as possible and creating fewer, but larger clearcuts because this results in less edge than many small clearcuts of the same area. In addition, the gradual transition from clearcut to shelterwood cut to forest interior may reduce predation rates (King et al. 1996). Uneven-age forest management may be the most compatible form of timber harvest. Single-tree selection and thinning of understory trees can maintain and create favorable habitat conditions (Crawford et al. 1981). However, caution should be exercised because populations can be reduced by selective logging that opens the canopy (Chadwick et al. 1986, Freedman et al. 1981, Robinson and Robinson 1999, and Yahner 1993).
Monitoring Requirements: The density of males, as determined by point counts or spot mapping techniques, is often used to determine the minimum forest area used for reproduction. However, the use of male density to access the use of forest fragments can be misleading. For example, unpaired males sing more frequently than paired males which can lead to the erroneous conclusion that habitats less suitable for reproduction are preferred (Gibbs and Wenny 1993). Furthermore, though male density can be high in small tracts, pairing/reproductive success is typically low (Hagan et al. 1996, Porneluzi et al. 1993, Van Horn et al. 1995). Pairing/reproductive success is a more sensitive measure of the value of a tract of forest than male density (Porneluzi et al. 1993).
Management Research Needs: Little known regarding stopover ecology and other migration requirements, or the ecology on the wintering grounds. Need more information on reproductive success in various habitats and landscapes (P. Porneluzi, pers. comm.). Also need data on densities in various habitats, and of use of small fragments, second-growth forests, and shrubby habitats bordering agricultural lands (Van Horn and Donovan 1994).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Passerines

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Nest Site, Nesting Colony
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.

Mapping Guidance: Breeding occurrences include nesting areas as well as foraging areas.

For swallows and other species that have separate nesting and foraging areas, separations are based on nest sites or nesting areas, not to locations of foraging individuals. For example, nesting areas separated by a gap larger than the separation distance are different occurrences, regardless of the foraging locations of individuals from those nesting areas. This separation procedure is appropriate because nesting areas are the critical aspect of swallow breeding occurrences, tend to be relatively stable or at least somwhat predictable in general location, and so are the basis for effective conservation; foraging areas are much more flexible and not necessarily static.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Significant dispersal and associated high potential for gene flow among populations of birds separated by tens of kilometers (e.g., Moore and Dolbeer 1989), and increasing evidence that individuals leave their usual home range to engage in extrapair copulations, as well as long foraging excursions of some species, make it difficult to circumscribe occurrences on the basis of meaningful population units without occurrences becoming too large. Hence, a moderate, standardized separation distance has been adopted for songbirds and flycatchers; it should yield occurrences that are not too spatially expansive while also accounting for the likelihood of gene flow among populations within a few kilometers of each other.

Be careful not to separate a population's nesting areas and foraging areas as different occurrences; include them in the same occurrence even if they are more than 5 km apart. Mean foraging radius (from nesting area) of Brown-headed Cowbird females was 4.0 kilometers in California, 1.2 kilometers in Illinois-Missouri (Thompson 1994). Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Brewer's Blackbirds, and probably Red-winged Blackbirds all forage up to 1.6 kilometers away from breeding colony (Willson 1966, Horn 1968). In one study, Brewer's Blackbirds were found as far as 10 kilometers from nesting area (Williams 1952), but this may be unusual.

For swallows and other parrerines with similar behavioral ecology, separation distance pertains to nest sites or nesting colonies, not to locations of foraging individuals. For example, nesting areas separated by a gap of more than 5 km are different occurrences, regardless of the foraging locations of individuals from those nesting areas. This separation procedure is appropriate because nesting areas are the critical aspect of swallow breeding occurrences, tend to be relatively stable or at least somwhat predictable in general location, and so are the basis for effective conservation; foraging areas are much more flexible and not necessarily static.

Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.

Unsuitable habitat: Habitat not normally used for breeding/feeding by a particular species. For example, unsuitable habitat for grassland and shrubland birds includes forest/woodland, urban/suburban, and aquatic habitats. Most habitats would be suitable for birds with versatile foraging habits (e.g., most corvids).

Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Roost Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: For most passerines: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating individuals (including historical) and potential recurring presence at a given location; minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds in appropriate habitat.

For swallows: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating flocks (including historical) and potential recurring presence at a given location; minimally a reliable observation of 100 birds in appropriate habitat (e.g., traditional roost sites).

Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually.

EOs should not be described for species that are nomadic during nonbreeding season: e.g., Lark Bunting.

Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary but intended to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.

For swallows and other species with similar behavioral ecology, the separation distance pertains to communal roost sites rather than to foraging areas; the former tend to be more stable and specific over time than the latter.

Date: 03Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Roost Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Any area used traditionally in the nonbreeding season (used for populations that are not resident in a location year-round). Minimally, reliable observations of 10 or more individuals in appropriate habitat for 20 or more days at a time. For G1-G3 species, observations of fewer individuals could constitute an occurrence of conservation value. Sites used during migration should be documented under the 'migratory stopover' location use class.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance is necessarily arbitrary but attempts to balance the high mobility of birds with the need for occurrences of reasonable spatial scope. Note that a population's roost sites and foraging areas are parts of the same occurrence, even if they are more than 5 km apart.

For swallows and other species with similar behavioral ecology, the separation distance pertains to communal roost sites rather than to foraging areas; the former tend to be more stable and specific over time than the latter.

Date: 03Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.

Use Class: Nonmigratory
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a particular location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in or near appropriate habitat.

These occurrence specifications are used for nonmigratory populations of passerine birds.

Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Significant dispersal and associated high potential for gene flow among populations of birds separated by tens of kilometers (e.g., Moore and Dolbeer 1989), and increasing evidence that individuals leave their usual home range to engage in extrapair copulations, as well as long foraging excursions of some species, make it difficult to circumscribe occurrences on the basis of meaningful population units without occurrences becoming too large. Hence, a moderate, standardized separation distance has been adopted for songbirds and flycatchers; it should yield occurrences that are not too spatially expansive while also accounting for the likelihood of gene flow among populations within a few kilometers of each other.

Be careful not to separate a population's nesting areas and breeding-season foraging areas as different occurrences; include them in the same occurrence even if they are more than 5 km apart. Blue jays have small summer home ranges but fly up to 4 kilometers to harvest mast (Tarvin and Woolfenden 1999). Flocks of pinyon jays range over 21-29 square kilometers (Ligon 1971, Balda and Bateman 1971); nesting and foraging areas may be widely separated. Tricolored blackbirds forage in flocks that range widely to more than 15 kilometers from the nesting colony (Beedy and Hamilton 1999).

Unsuitable habitat: Habitat not normally used for breeding/feeding by a particular species. For example, unsuitable habitat for grassland and shrubland birds includes forest/woodland, urban/suburban, and aquatic habitats. Most habitats would be suitable for birds with versatile foraging habits (e.g., most corvids).

Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Notes: These specs pertain to nonmigratory species.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 20Dec2002
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: PALIS, J., revised by S. Cannings
Management Information Edition Date: 28Jun2000
Management Information Edition Author: PALIS, J: REVISIONS BY S. CANNINGS
Management Information Acknowledgments: The author thanks Paul Porneluzi for commenting on a draft of this manuscript and providing a reference. Support for the preparation of this abstract was provided by the U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center through The Nature Conservancy's Tennessee Field Office and Wings of the Americas program.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 05Apr1996
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G. AND J. PALIS

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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