Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2003-14

Common name:


Scientific name: Seiurus aurocapillus
Date: 5/8/03
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Length of time observed: 3 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: unknown
Location: Jordan River Parkway at 840 South
County: Salt Lake
Latilong: ?
Elevation: ?
Distance to bird: 40 feet
Optical equipment: Swarovski Binoculars EL 10 x 42
Weather: sunny
Light Conditions: bright
Detailed description of bird: very distinct bird - warbler sized. I could see the orangish colored crown very well, because the bird was excited making it 'stand up'. The orangish crown was bordered by a narrow black band on both sides of it. The bird had a complete, bold,white eye ring. The chest and belly was heavily spotted with black. It had white
underparts. There were no wingbars on this bird. Its back, wings, tail, and area just above the eye ring below the narrow black band was a uniform greenish olive color.
Song or call & method of delivery: none
Behavior: The bird was foraging on the ground next to the Jordan River below some shrubs.
Habitat: Riparian - willows, cottonwoods. The area there was damp and muddy and there were a few logs that were decomposing on the ground too.
Similar species and
how were they eliminated:
The Ovenbird is pretty distinct. The bird with the closest similarities to an Ovenbird that I can think of is the Chipping Sparrow, but they are very different. They were also present, but they have a clear breast, white wingbars, more reddish brown colored crown with a narrow white band below it - not a black one like the Ovenbird. Those are just a few of the differences between a chipping sparrow and an Ovenbird.

Waterthrushes have the same habit of foraging on the ground in wet areas, but they have a whitish or yellowish eyebrow which the Ovenbird lacks. They also have a dark eyeline and a dark crown. Their overall back color is darkish and not olive colored like the Ovenbird.

Previous experience with this & similar species: I've seen a couple in Texas.
References consulted: The Sibley Guide to Birds and National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America.
Description from: From memory
Observer: Ed Conrad
Observer's address: 5871 South Holstein Way Murray, UT 84107
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified
this bird:
Date prepared: 5/8/03  (General Public)
Additional material:  
Additional comments: I came back to this section of the Jordan River Parkway, because yesterday I had seen an Eastern Phoebe and hoped to photograph it. I didn't find it, but I did find this Ovenbird. My camera doesn't have a telophoto lens on it (it has a 35-70 mm lens) which makes it useless when I want to photograph a little bird on the other side of the river 40 or so feet away. I do have experience with the Ovenbird as well as the Eastern Phoebe and regret not having a camera with a lens suited for bird photography.