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Number of species: 80

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Ovenbird - Seiurus aurocapilla

Ovenbirds are easiest to age if pale tips to the tertials are present, indicating a HY/SY bird; otherwise rectrix shape is the best clue, but by spring some intermediates are not reliably aged. Determination of sex is generally limited to brood patch / cloacal protuberance during the breeding season

Quick Tips:

  • Look at the tertials - in fall HY birds have narrow rusty or pale tips (sometimes still present on SY birds in spring); absence of such tips is not a reliable indicator of AHY/ASY birds
  • Examine the rectrices - on HY/SY birds they are relatively narrow and tapered to a point, while on AHY/ASY birds they are more broad and rounded toward the tip
  • Consider the crown in fall - on HY birds the central crown stripe generally has little or no orange, while on AHY birds it usually has a moderate to substantial amount of orange

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory

Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.
Age / Sex  Image sets 
Hatch year / Unknown
Tertials with rusty or pale tips; rectrices relatively narrow and pointed; central crown stripe often lacking orange
Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00500-Seiurus_aurocapilla_AOU_7_52-2693.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00500-Seiurus_aurocapilla_AOU_7_52-2691.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00500-Seiurus_aurocapilla_AOU_7_52-2692.jpg
Date: Sep 8
After hatch year / Unknown
Wing uniform in colour and wear; rectrices relatively broad and rounded, moderate to substantial amount of orange on the central crown stripe
Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00467-Seiurus_aurocapilla_AOU_7_52-2699.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00467-Seiurus_aurocapilla_AOU_7_52-2697.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2321-00467-Seiurus_aurocapilla_AOU_7_52-2698.jpg
Date: Sep 4
Second year / Unknown
Tertials and/or primary coverts paler and more worn than adjacent greater coverts; rectrices relatively tapered and worn
Thumbnail - MG2-2030-67554-Seiurus_aurocapilla_AOU_7_52-2687.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2030-67554-Seiurus_aurocapilla_AOU_7_52-2685.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2030-67554-Seiurus_aurocapilla_AOU_7_52-2686.jpg
Date: May 18
After second year / Unknown
Wing uniform in colour and wear; rectrices relatively broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2030-67553-Seiurus_aurocapilla_AOU_7_52-2690.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2030-67553-Seiurus_aurocapilla_AOU_7_52-2688.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2030-67553-Seiurus_aurocapilla_AOU_7_52-2689.jpg
Date: May 18

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
Juvenile / Unknown Head pattern indistinct; cinnamon edging to feathers on back; rusty wing bars
Number of species: 80

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