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Reproduction

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Ovenbirds are monogamous. They defend nesting territories and pairs are often lifelong. Little is known about the breeding behaviors of ovenbirds, but there are some records of courtship behaviors by some species. Some ovenbirds sing while performing a wing raising display and others have display flights where they hover 50 meters above the ground while singing. Courtship feeding has also been noted for some species. There is some suggestion that there may be helpers at the nest in some species, but the evidence is not conclusive. Observations have been made of the young of the first brood helping to build the nest for the second brood.

Mating System: monogamous

Most ovenbirds breed during the spring and summer or during the onset of the wet season, but some may breed year-round. In most species, breeding occurs during periods of maximum arthropod abundance. Ovenbirds usually have one or sometimes two broods per year, but they will replace broods if they are lost.

Nest construction may begin months before the breeding season. Ovenbird nests are quite variable. They can take from two weeks to three months to build and can weigh up to five kilograms. Ovenbirds build three different types of nests: adobe mud nests, nests in cavities and domed nests. Adobe nests look like ovens and are the root of the birds’ name. These nests are made of mud, plant material and dung and are usually lined with grass. Cavity nests are usually placed in a woodpecker hole or a natural cavity, or are a burrow that is usually a long tunnel, up to one meter into a cliff or bank. It is not known if all the burrow nesting species excavate the tunnels or if some use tunnels dug by rodents or other animals. These nests are lined with grass, woodchips, spider web and other materials. Domed nests are made of vegetation such as sticks and grass. Some species use twigs from thorny plants, making the nests difficult for predators to destroy. The birds also use barbed wire, snake skin, feathers and bone as nest materials. Nests are built in cactuses or thorny vegetation or hanging from branches, and can be up to two meters long. Some nests have tubular entrances 30 to 40 cm long. Ovenbird nests are usually enclosed and provide protection from predators.

Clutch size ranges from two to five. The eggs are white, and some have a bluish, greenish or buff tinge. Eggs are laid on alternate days, and incubation lasts from 14 to 22 days. Chicks are altricial and fledge in 13 to 29 days; larger species have longer nestling periods than smaller species. After fledging, young may remain in their parent’s territory for up to 13 months, though they are often be able to feed themselves after 30 days.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous

Males and females have similar roles during breeding; both help build nests, incubate eggs, feed nestlings and fledglings and remove fecal sacks. Incubation lasts from 14 to 22 days. Chicks are altricial and fledge in 13 to 29 days; larger species have longer nestling periods than smaller species. After fledging, young may remain in their parent’s territory for up to 13 months even though they are often be able to feed themselves after 30 days.

Parental Investment: altricial ; male parental care ; female parental care

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Untitled

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The name Furnariidae means “baker” and stems from the observation that the nests of some species of ovenbirds have an oven-like shape.

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Behavior

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Most species of ovenbird sound similar. Their calls have been described as unmusical and harsh. Their calls are loud, but simple, and composed of buzzy notes of varying speeds that rise and fall in pitch. Pairs will sing in duets to defend territories and strengthen the pair-bond. Chicks use a begging call to solicit feeding by adults.

Ovenbirds have numerous displays that they use in attracting mates and defending territories. Displays include: exposing bright throat patches, raising crown feathers and lifting their wings to show their wingstripes.

Communication Channels: visual ; acoustic

Other Communication Modes: duets

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Conservation Status

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Anthropogenic habitat destruction is the main threat to ovenbirds today. Deforestation, burning, grazing and increases in agriculture all reduce and fragment ovenbird habitat. Many ovenbird species have very narrow habitat requirements. These species are particularly vulnerable to habitat destruction and fragmentation because they are not able to move to new habitat when theirs is destroyed. Currently the IUCN lists 3 species of ovenbird as “Critically Endangered”, 9 species as “Endangered”, 15 as “Vulnerable” and 18 as “Near Threatened”. Species that live in areas that are undesirable to humans (for example, high alpine habitats) are doing well and some species are able to adapt to moderate disturbance levels. Species that live in urban areas are also doing well and are extending their ranges as urban areas expand.

Ovenbirds are also suffering as a result of introduced species. House sparrows (Passer domesticus) take over their nest sites and shiny cowbirds (Molothrus bonariensis) parasitize their nests.

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Comprehensive Description

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Ovenbirds are New World birds found only in the neotropics. They belong to the order Passeriformes and family Furnariidae. There are 55 genera of ovenbirds and 236 species. Ovenbirds can be found in almost all habitats from rocky intertidal zones to deciduous forest, desert and high alpine areas. They are important members of all bird communities in South America and in some regions they account for 25 percent of all bird species.

Ovenbirds are small to medium sized birds (10 to 26 cm long, 8 to 109 g). Their plumage is primarily shades of brown; however, they often have complex patterns of spots and stripes. Some species have wingbands, tail patches or more brightly colored throat patches. They have very diverse bill and tail structure. Bill shapes and sizes reflect foraging habits. Ovenbird tails are often stiffened and have bare feather tips, modifications that aid the birds in climbing. Males and females look similar, although males may be slightly larger.

Ovenbirds are monogamous, and pairs often remain together from year to year. They are well known for their diverse and often complex nest structures. In fact, the name ovenbird comes from the oven-like structure of some species’ nests.

Although ovenbirds as a group occupy a wide range of habitats, many individual species have very restrictive habitat requirements. Because of these requirements their ranges are often small and fragmented. This, combined with anthropogenic habitat destruction has lead to population declines in many ovenbird species.

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Benefits

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Ovenbirds sometimes build nests on electrical poles and cause damage to electrical systems.

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Benefits

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Ovenbirds eat insects that are crop pests in agricultural areas. They are also sought out by birdwatchers.

Positive Impacts: ecotourism ; controls pest population

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Associations

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Other animals such as insects (for example beetles and social wasps), rodents, lizards, snakes, frogs and other birds use ovenbird nests for shelter or breeding. Ovenbirds themselves, however, do not usually re-use nests. Botfly larvae (Gasterophilidae) often attack nestlings as do other nest parasites (Hemiptera, Psammolestes, Triatoma and Acarina). Ovenbirds impact the populations of the prey species they eat. They are also hosts to introduced nest parasites, shiny cowbirds (Molothrus bonariensis)

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Trophic Strategy

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Ovenbirds feed primarily on arthropods and other invertebrates. Their main insect prey include: Orthoptera (grasshoppers and relatives), Hymenoptera (they eat ants only within this group), Coleoptera (beetles) and larval Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). Species that live in aquatic habitats will eat non-arthropod invertebrates such as mollusks and worms. Occasionally ovenbirds will eat small frogs, lizards, bird eggs, crabs, seeds and fruit.

Ovenbirds' bill shapes and sizes reflect the foraging habits of each species. Ovenbirds display a diversity of feeding strategies including: hanging upside-down to reach under leaves, probing, gleaning, wading in shallow water, looking for insects in bark and sifting through the leaf litter. Their tails are modified to help them climb trees in search of food (see Physical Description). Ovenbirds will use their feet to hold down their prey while they eat it. This behavior is uncommon among Passeriformes.

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore , Eats non-insect arthropods, Molluscivore )

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Distribution

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Ovenbirds are New World birds found only in the neotropics. They can be found from central Mexico to the southernmost parts of South America. They are also found on Trinidad, Tobago and the Falkland and Juan Fernandez Islands. Their range extends much farther south and to much higher elevations than many other South American bird families. Eighty nine percent of Furnariidae species are endemic to South America.

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native ); oceanic islands (Native )

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Habitat

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Ovenbirds are found in almost all habitat types. Though their highest diversity is in lowland tropical forest, they are also found in desert, mudflats, coastal sand dunes, saltwater marshes, rocky intertidal zones, bogs, marshes, open areas, scrub, wet cloud forest, urban and agricultural areas. Ovenbirds can be found from sea level to elevations of 4500 meters. Many species are found in areas near water and in rocky areas where rocks are used as foraging substrates or nests sites.

Some species have strict habitat requirements. For example, point-tailed palmcreepers (Berlepschia rikeri) are only found in groves of palm trees which may be small and isolated. Araucara tit-spinetails (Leptasthenura setaria) are restricted to a single tree species, Araucaria angustifolia.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest ; mountains

Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds; rivers and streams; coastal ; brackish water

Wetlands: marsh ; swamp ; bog

Other Habitat Features: urban ; suburban ; agricultural ; riparian ; estuarine

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Life Expectancy

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There is no information about lifespan/longevity for ovenbirds. Annual adult survival has been estimated to be about 71 percent.

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Morphology

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Ovenbirds are small to medium sized birds (10 to 26 cm long, 8 to 109 g). Their plumage is primarily shades of brown. However, they often have complex patterns of spots and stripes. Some species have wingbands and tail patches that can be seen when the birds are in flight. Some have more brightly colored throat patches that can be exposed during displays. Orange-fronted plushcrowns (Metopothrix aurantiaca) are green and yellow, and are the only brightly colored ovenbird.

Ovenbirds have very diverse bill and tail structure. Bill shape and size reflect foraging habits, and range from long, broad and curved to short and straight. Ovenbird tails are often stiffened and have bare feather tips. These modifications in tail morphology aid the birds in climbing. Some species have standard passerine tails and others have very long tails. Ovenbirds' wings are usually short and rounded, although they are occasionally pointed. These birds also have large feet and thick legs. The bill, legs and feet are dark in most species.

Male and female ovenbirds look similar, although males may be slightly larger. Juveniles are colored differently than adults and tend to be more cryptic. Molting does not change the appearance of adult birds. Ovenbirds give off a unique musty odor that is thought to come from the oil in the uropygial gland. It is not known if the smell has any function, but it may help repel ectoparasites.

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike; male larger

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Associations

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Other than owls (family Strigidae), few predators of adult ovenbirds are known. Nest predators include: snakes (suborder Serpentes), Guira cuckoos (Guira guira), roadside hawks (Buteo magnirostris), black-chested buzzards (Geranoaetus melanoleucus) and opossums (family Didelphidae). Ovenbirds’ primary defense against nest predators is the design of their nests. Nests are often hidden in cavities or tunnels, or if they are exposed, they are protected by thorns or cacti.

Known Predators:

  • owls (Strigiformes)
  • snakes (Serpentes)
  • Guira cuckoos (Guira guira)
  • roadside hawks (Buteo magnirostris)
  • black-chested buzzards (Geranoaetus melanoleucus)
  • opossums (Didelphidae)
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Ovenbird (family)

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Ovenbirds or furnariids are a large family of small suboscine passerine birds found from Mexico and Central to southern South America. They form the family Furnariidae. The ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla), which breeds in North America, is not a furnariid – rather it is a distantly related bird of the wood warbler family, Parulidae.

The ovenbirds are a diverse group of insectivores which get their name from the elaborate, vaguely "oven-like" clay nests built by the horneros, although most other ovenbirds build stick nests or nest in tunnels or clefts in rock.[1] The Spanish word for "oven" (horno) gives the horneros their name. Furnariid nests are always constructed with a cover, and up to six pale blue, greenish or white eggs are laid. The eggs hatch after 15 to 22 days, and the young fledge after a further 13 to 20 days.[2]

They are small to medium-sized birds, ranging from 9 to 35 cm in length.[2] While individual species often are habitat specialists, species of this family can be found in virtually any Neotropical habitat, ranging from city parks inhabited by rufous horneros, to tropical Amazonian lowlands by many species of foliage-gleaners, to temperate barren Andean highlands inhabited by several species of miners. Two species, the seaside and the surf cinclodes, are associated with rocky coasts.

Taxonomy and systematics

Recently, the woodcreepers (formerly Dendrocolaptidae) were merged into this family, following analysis of sequences.[3] While confirming the overall phylogenetic pattern, other scientists instead opted for maintaining the woodcreepers as a separate family, while splitting the ovenbirds (as traditionally defined) into two families, Furnariidae and Scleruridae.[4]

The systematics of the Dendrocolaptinae were reviewed by Raikow (1994)[5] based on morphology and by Irestedt et al. (2004)[6] based on analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Using the latter approach, the suspected major lineages of the Furnariinae (foliage-gleaners, spinetails, and true ovenbirds) were confirmed, but some new lineages were discovered and the relationships of several genera had to be revised.[7][8]

The taxonomic arrangement presented below is based on recent studies of ovenbird relationships.[4][9][10][8] However, because ovenbirds and woodcreepers are treated here as a single family some taxonomic ranks were modified. For more detail see "List of ovenbird species".

Subfamily: Sclerurinae – miners and leaftossers

Subfamily: Dendrocolaptinaewoodcreepers

Subfamily: Furnariinae – Neotropical ovenbirds and allies

"
Rufous hornero (Furnarius rufus) nest, showing the entrance chamber and dividing wall to breeding chamber

References

  1. ^ Remsen, J. V., Jr. 2003. Family Furnariidae (ovenbirds). Pages 162–357 in J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott and D. A. Christie eds. Handbook of the birds of the world, Vol. 8, broadbills to tapaculos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  2. ^ a b Willis, Edwin O. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 162–163. ISBN 978-1-85391-186-6.
  3. ^ Irestedt, Martin; Fjeldså, Jon; Johansson, Ulf S. & Ericson, Per G.P. (2002). "Systematic relationships and biogeography of the tracheophone suboscines (Aves: Passeriformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 23 (3): 499–512. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00034-9. PMID 12099801.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Moyle, R. G.; R. T. Chesser; R. T. Brumfield; J. G. Tello; D. J. Marchese & J. Cracraft (2009). "Phylogeny and phylogenetic classification of the antbirds, ovenbirds, woodcreepers, and allies (Aves: Passeriformes: infraorder Furnariides)". Cladistics. 25 (4): 386–405. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.581.630. doi:10.1111/j.1096-0031.2009.00259.x.
  5. ^ Raikow, Robert J. (1994). "A phylogeny of the woodcreepers (Dendrocolaptinae)" (PDF). Auk. 111 (1): 104–114. doi:10.2307/4088509. JSTOR 4088509.
  6. ^ Irestedt, Martin; Fjeldså, Jon & Ericson, Per G. P. (2004). "Phylogenetic relationships of woodcreepers (Aves: Dendrocolaptinae) – incongruence between molecular and morphological data". Journal of Avian Biology. 35 (3): 280–288. doi:10.1111/j.0908-8857.2004.03234.x.
  7. ^ Fjeldså, Jon; Irestedt, Martin & Ericson, Per G. P. (2005). "Molecular data reveal some major adaptational shifts in the early evolution of the most diverse avian family, the Furnariidae" (PDF). Journal of Ornithology. 146: 1–13. doi:10.1007/s10336-004-0054-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2006-09-05.
  8. ^ a b Derryberry, Elizabeth P.; Claramunt, Santiago; Derryberry, Graham; Chesser, R. Terry; Cracraft, Joel; Aleixo, Alexandre; Pérez-Emán, Jorge; Remsen Jr., J. V.; Brumfield, Robb T. (2011). "Lineage diversification and morphological evolution in a large-scale continental radiation: the Neotropical ovenbirds and woodcreepers (Aves: Furnariidae)". Evolution. 65 (10): 2973–2986. doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01374.x. ISSN 0014-3820. PMID 21967436.
  9. ^ Irestedt, M.; J. Fjeldså & P. G. P. Ericson (2006). "Evolution of the ovenbird-woodcreeper assemblage (Aves: Furnariidae): major shifts in nest architecture and adaptive radiation". J. Avian Biol. 37 (3): 260–272. doi:10.1111/j.2006.0908-8857.03612.x.
  10. ^ Chesser, R. T.; Barker, F. K. & Brumfield, R. T. (2007). "Fourfold polyphyly of the genus formerly known as Upucerthia, with notes on the systematics and evolution of the avian subfamily Furnariinae". Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 44 (3): 1320–1332. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.04.014. PMID 17632018.
  11. ^ Derryberry, E.; S. Claramunt; R. T. Chesser; A. Aleixo; J. Cracraft; R. G. Moyle & R. T. Brumfield (2010). "Certhiasomus, a new genus of woodcreeper (Aves: Passeriformes: Dendrocolaptidae)" (PDF). Zootaxa. 2416: 44–50. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.2416.1.2.
  12. ^ Claramunt, S.; E. P. Derryberry; R. T. Chesser; A. Aleixo & R. T. Brumfield (2010). "Polyphyly of Campylorhamphus with the description of a new genus for C. pucherani". Auk. 127 (2): 430–439. doi:10.1525/auk.2009.09022.
  13. ^ The correct genus for former Xenops milleri
  14. ^ Chesser, R. T. & R. T. Brumfield (2007). "Tarphonomus, a new genus of ovenbird (Aves: Passeriformes: Furnariidae) from South America". Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 120 (3): 337–339. doi:10.2988/0006-324X(2007)120[337:TANGOO]2.0.CO;2.
  15. ^ Chesser, R. T.; S. Claramunt; E. P. Derryberry & R. T. Brumfield (2009). "Geocerthia, a new genus of terrestrial ovenbird (Aves: Passeriformes: Furnariidae)". Zootaxa. 2213: 64–68.
  16. ^ a b Olson, S. L.; Irestedt, M.; Ericson, P. G. P. & Fjeldså, J. (2005). "Independent evolution of two Darwinian marsh-dwelling ovenbirds (Furnariidae: Limnornis, Limnoctites)" (PDF). Ornitologia Neotropical 16: 347–359. hdl:10088/1568.
  17. ^ Claramunt, Santiago; Derryberry, Elizabeth P.; Cadena, Carlos Daniel; Cuervo, Andrés M.; Sanín, Camilo; Brumfield, Robb T. (2013). "Phylogeny and classification of Automolus foliage-gleaners and allies (Furnariidae)". The Condor. 115 (2): 375–385. doi:10.1525/cond.2013.110198. ISSN 0010-5422.
  18. ^ Derryberry, E.; S. Claramunt; K. E. O'Quin; A. Aleixo; R. T. Chesser; J. V. Remsen Jr. & R. T. Brumfield (2010). "Pseudasthenes, a new genus of ovenbird (Aves: Passeriformes: Furnariidae)" (PDF). Zootaxa. 2416: 61–68. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.2416.1.4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-27.
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Ovenbird (family): Brief Summary

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Ovenbirds or furnariids are a large family of small suboscine passerine birds found from Mexico and Central to southern South America. They form the family Furnariidae. The ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla), which breeds in North America, is not a furnariid – rather it is a distantly related bird of the wood warbler family, Parulidae.

The ovenbirds are a diverse group of insectivores which get their name from the elaborate, vaguely "oven-like" clay nests built by the horneros, although most other ovenbirds build stick nests or nest in tunnels or clefts in rock. The Spanish word for "oven" (horno) gives the horneros their name. Furnariid nests are always constructed with a cover, and up to six pale blue, greenish or white eggs are laid. The eggs hatch after 15 to 22 days, and the young fledge after a further 13 to 20 days.

They are small to medium-sized birds, ranging from 9 to 35 cm in length. While individual species often are habitat specialists, species of this family can be found in virtually any Neotropical habitat, ranging from city parks inhabited by rufous horneros, to tropical Amazonian lowlands by many species of foliage-gleaners, to temperate barren Andean highlands inhabited by several species of miners. Two species, the seaside and the surf cinclodes, are associated with rocky coasts.

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