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Ovenbirds are large wood warblers and are sometimes confused by the untrained for a thrush. They have olive-brown upperparts and white underparts heavily streaked with black; the flanks have an olive hue. A white ring surrounds the eyes, and a black stripe runs below the cheek. They have a line of orange feathers with olive-green tips running along the top of their head, bordered on each side with blackish-brown. The orange feathers can be erected to form a small crest. The eyes and the upper part of the thin pointed beak are dark, while the lower beak is horn-colored and the legs and feet are pinkish.
Breeds from west-central Canada east to Maritimes, and south to the northern Gulf Coast states and South Carolina. Spends winters from the Gulf Coast and Florida to South America. Preferred habitats include mature, dry forests with little undergrowth.
The Ovenbird gets its name from its covered nest. The dome and side entrance make it resemble a Dutch oven.