Saturday, May 27, 2006


Photo by Carlos A. Mascaro

Photo by Carlos A. Mascaro

Photo by

The Photo Friday Theme (Fri May 26) is HOME.

The Ovenbirds, Furnarius rufus, (João-de-Barro) is from the same family as the Woodcreepers. It is very common in Brazil, in the southern half of South America east of the Andes and is the national bird of Argentina. Here in Brazil his common name is João-de-Barro. (João=John and Barro=Mud).

"They normally search for food on the ground and their diet is based on insects and seeds. Males and females work together building the nest for 6 to 8 days. The female laid 2 to 3 white eggs and the parents feed the chicks for almost 25 days before they leave the nest."

"They are often seen on the ground collecting mud or dung to build their remarkable nests. These look for all the world like miniature versions of the type of oven (or "horno") that you see outside many houses in rural South America. Hence the name "Ovenbirds" in English and "Hornero", the Spanish for baker."

"These nests are built in prominent positions in trees or on any suitable man-made object such as telephone or electricity posts. "

"The nests consist of two chambers so that the 3 to 4 chicks are protected from predators and the wind - in most cases the entrance faces away from the prevailing wind. Like most non-tropical birds in South America, eggs are laid in about September and the building of the mud nest depends on there being sufficient rain to produce the mud but rain that is not so heavy that it washes away the nest as it is being built."

"A pair of Ovenbirds will only use their nest for one season but, because the sun-baked mud is extremely hard, it can last for several years and abandoned nests may be used by a variety of other birds - so always check them out. "

They sing duets: "The Ovenbirds is a territorial bird in which pairs sing duets. This family of birds is known for the simplicity of its song types. Each sex consistently sings a distinct song during the duet: the song starts with both sexes singing identically, followed by a divergence of the female, who slows her singing rate. Also, since both birds pump their wings while singing, at the same frequency as their singing, it possible to see which bird sings at which rate."

Take a look of two amazing videos:

Click on photos to enlarge


  1. These pictures are remarkable and so are those birds and their nests! Wonderful to read about them and see thier constructions! I loved the two videos, too, Sonia...Birds are so build such a nest out of mud and just the right kind of mud...Remarkable!
    Thanks so much for sharing this Sonia....I would never get to see this without your wonderful pictures and commentary!

  2. Thank you for these photos. I will have to ask my parents if they ever saw these when they lived in Brazil.

  3. Marvellous, such cleverness and ingenuity. Thanks a lot Sonia for offering us these pictures. I hope that nature will resist for a long time again.

  4. What a fantastic bird! I've never seen anything like their mud nests. Animals are so amazing. Thank you for sharing this wonderful bird.

  5. Sonia, when I first saw the photos, I thought the brown thing as an animal! How interesting they are. I can't believe that rains do not wash away their nests all the time.

  6. Wow...that is kind of bizarre! I've never seen anything like it. What neat birds.

    Love your pictures and story as I always do!

  7. Oi Sonia,
    As fotos e o texto ficaram ótimos!
    É uma casa bastante original!
    Valeria a pena comentar sôbre a lenda segundo a qual o João de Barro macho "empareda" sua fêmea quando acha que foi traido?

  8. What wonderful nests and how lovely that other birds recycle themin later years.

  9. How fascinating! Thanks Sonia for once again giving me a little bit of education. I always learn something neat on your blog. These are excellent pictures. Birds are amazing creatures, aren't they?

  10. What amazing birds. At least their nests are more sturdy and safer than the usualy straw type nests.
    Wonderful photos, Sonia. Thank you for sharing.
    Have a wonderful week.
    Take care, Meow

  11. Fascinating! I love the fact that they build different "rooms" in their nest. So clever. When I saw the first photo I did see the resemblance to those outdoor fireplaces (chimeneas?)that have become popular here.

  12. What an interesting looking nest! It seems it would be much more sturdy than leaves and grasses.

  13. What an interesting looking nest! It seems it would be much more sturdy than leaves and grasses.

  14. Your bird is absolutely amazing! I just love their nest...what a wonderful work of art! Thank you for sharing such interesting things!

  15. Very, very cool. Never heard of these. Seems so exotic out my way.

  16. Wow, that is so wonderful. I have never seen a nest like that before. I love birds and the nest building is such a neat thing they do with the twigs and leaves and whatever they can find, and now to see a mud one! They truly do look like ovens. Isn't nature amazing, just amazing. Thanks for sharing this info Sonia. I enjoyed the pictures and the videos! Great!!

  17. I always come away from your blog a little more educated on some subject are going to have me thinking I am intellegent or

    Great pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  18. I learned something new today. Thanks Sonia for sharing :-)

  19. What a fascinating post!!!
    Photos are delightful

  20. Do these birds migrate to Chile? I think I recall seeing them there but I didn't know there names. Lovely photos!

  21. That is a very interestin nest! Never seen before.


  22. What talented and creative nest builders birds are! The Ovenbird is remarkable. I like that they recycle their nest to other birds. Fascinating information. Thank you, Sonia!

  23. WOW that is amazing, I'm going to show my husband this when he gets home. I've never seen anything like it. They are so smart!!

  24. Oh goodness. What a wonderful bird ... thank you Sonia. Your blog is an education as well as a source of pleasure.

  25. What a treat to see this bird and it's unique nest!! I am pleased that I visited and shall return. One of the benefits of blogging seeing the world with just a "click!"

  26. Enchanting! What amazing and beautiful birds.

  27. These are remarkable photos, Sonia, and I learned about a bird I knew nothing about. When I was a kid, we loved to search for the trap door spider nests--which were also made of clay or dirt--or at least that is how I remember it.

  28. These are remarkable photos, Sonia, and I learned about a bird I knew nothing about. When I was a kid, we loved to search for the trap door spider nests--which were also made of clay or dirt--or at least that is how I remember it.

  29. Thanks for your visit Sonia...and for your always kind supportive words...I dearly appreciate it.

  30. Olá!
    Parabéns pelo seu Blog!
    Genial a idéia e o formato.
    Adorei o post do Hornero Mud John.
    Me perdoe uma coisa somente, está escrito que Furnarius rufus é da família dos Arapaçus?
    Na verdade o joão de barro é da família Furnaridae e o arapaçu é um dendrocolaptidae...
    Bem acabo de tenar confirmar essa informação e descubor que recentemente os woodcreepers foram incorporados aos furnaridae.

    Vc. já sabia disso??


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