McGILL BIRD OBSERVATORY

PHOTO LIBRARY

Ovenbird / Paruline couronnée (Seiurus aurocapillus)

NOTE: This species account has been moved to Piranga to allow for improved comparison among examples.  
The updated profile is located at: http://www.natureinstruct.org/piranga/view.php/Canada/CEA5B6AA48218C8A 

 
QUICK TIPS:
1) Look at the tertials - on HY/SY birds they are relatively worn and faded with narrow rusty or pale tips in fall, while on AHY/ASY birds they are uniform with the rest of the wing

2) 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

3) Consider the crown in fall - on HY birds the central crown stripe generally has little or no orange, while on AHY birds there is usually moderate to substantial orange within the central crown stripe

Note that the pale tips of the tertials are a good clue in fall; by mid-winter they are typically absent and as a result many individuals cannot be aged reliably during spring

Species account updated May 2009

Ageing and sexing guidelines:

January - July:

ASY - U
Wing uniform in colour and wear; rectrices relatively broad and rounded
     
SY - U
Tertials and/or primary coverts paler and more worn than adjacent greater coverts; rectrices relatively narrow and tapered
 
 

-

July - December:

AHY - U
Wing uniform in colour and wear; rectrices relatively broad and rounded, moderate to substantial amount of orange on the central crown stripe
SY - U
Primaries and/or secondaries in active moult AND unreplaced primary coverts and/or primaries very pale and worn
HY - U
Tertials with rusty or pale tips; rectrices relatively narrow and pointed; central crown stripe often lacking orange
 

Ageing and sexing details:

JAN - JUL:  after-second-year unknown

Overall plumage usually provides few clues about age for Ovenbirds in spring; sex can be determined only in the hand if a brood patch (females) or cloacal protuberance (males) is evident.


Photo by Barbara Frei, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), May 2007


After-second-year Ovenbirds have a relatively uniform wing, lacking obvious contrasts in wear among the tertials, greater coverts, and primary coverts.


Photo by Barbara Frei, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), May 2007


After-second-year Ovenbirds have fairly broad rectrices.


Photo by Barbara Frei, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), May 2007

RETURN TO AGE/SEX OVERVIEW

 

JAN - JUL:  second-year unknown

 


 


Second-year Ovenbirds may show visible moult limits between the primary coverts and greater coverts as in the photo below, or between the tertials and adjacent secondaries or greater coverts.


Photo by Peter Pyle, Howell Woods (NC), May 2006



 

RETURN TO AGE/SEX OVERVIEW

JUL - DEC:  after-hatch-year unknown

Generally the open wing and/or tail need to be examined to be confident about the age of Ovenbirds, but individuals with a substantial amount of orange in the crown are most likely after-hatch-year.


Photo by Marcel Gahbauer, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), August 2005


Photo by Barbara Frei, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), August 2007


After-hatch-year Ovenbirds have a uniform wing, lacking any pale or rusty tips to the tertials or any other feathers.  Note that, as in the second photo below, adults may be observed replacing primaries or secondaries; this can be taken as an indicator the individual is after-hatch-year, since hatch-year birds do not replace these feathers during their preformative moult.


Photo by Barbara Frei, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), August 2007


Photo by Marcel Gahbauer, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), August 2008


After-hatch-year Ovenbirds have relatively broad and rounded rectrices, occasionally with a faint trace of white near the tip of the outer feathers (r5 and r6).


Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), August 2007


Photo by Barbara Frei, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), August 2007

RETURN TO AGE/SEX OVERVIEW

JUL - AUG:  second-year unknown

Some after-hatch-year birds may remain recognizable as second-year up to the completion of their prebasic moult, as long as distinctively juvenile feathers are retained.


Photo by Marcel Gahbauer, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), July 2006


Photo by Marcel Gahbauer, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), August 2005


Second-year birds are most easily recognized by the retention of distinctively juvenile feathers on the wing.  Typically these are pale- or rust-tipped tertials as in the second photo below, but they may also include faded primary coverts with characteristically juvenile broad barb spacing, as in the first photo.


Photo by Marcel Gahbauer, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), August 2005


Photo by Marcel Gahbauer, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), July 2006


Second-year Ovenbirds in summer may retain narrow and pointed juvenile rectrices (as shown in the photo below), or may have already partially or completely replaced them with adult rectrices.


Photo by Marcel Gahbauer, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), July 2006

RETURN TO AGE/SEX OVERVIEW

JUL - DEC:  hatch-year unknown

Hatch-year Ovenbirds may occasionally be recognized when perched by distinctively pale- or rust-tipped tertials, but the open wing and/or tail should be checked when possible.  Hatch-year Ovenbirds generally have minimal orange in the crown, but this appears to not be sufficiently reliable to use for ageing.


Photo by Marcel Gahbauer, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), August 2005


  Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), September 2007


Hatch-year Ovenbirds usually have distinct rusty (or occasionally pale) tips to the tertials.


Photo by Marcel Gahbauer, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), August 2005


Photo by Seabrooke Leckie, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), August 2006


 
Photo by Marcel Gahbauer, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), August 2005


Hatch-year Ovenbirds typically have narrow and distinctly pointed rectrices.


Photo by Marcel Gahbauer, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), August 2005


Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson, McGill Bird Observatory (QC), August 2008

RETURN TO AGE/SEX OVERVIEW 

2002- The Migration Research Foundation Inc.