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Bewick's Wren

Thryomanes bewickii ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: TROGLODYTIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

If you come across a noisy, hyperactive little bird with bold white eyebrows, flicking its long tail as it hops from branch to branch, you may have spotted a Bewick’s Wren. These master vocalists belt out a string of short whistles, warbles, burrs, and trills to attract mates and defend their territory, or scold visitors with raspy calls. Bewick’s Wrens are still fairly common in much of western North America, but they have virtually disappeared from the East.

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Birds of North America Online

Songs

Only the male Bewick’s Wren sings, to defend territory and attract mates. Songs vary from one geographical area to another, and a single male may possess a repertoire of 9 to 22 distinct songs. Typically, these begin with two or more high, quick introductory notes, drop into a lower, burry phrase, and end on a high trill. Variations can include additional warbles and buzzy notes. Songs last about 2 seconds.

Calls

Foraging Bewick’s Wrens stay in contact with short notes that sound like plink plink or pee or—from females—sker. If a male hears another male nearby, he may stop foraging, hurrying to the territorial boundary to chase the interloper away. When agitated, both males and females scold in quick, raspy notes. Immediately before roosting, the male utters series of harsh (spzz) notes.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

If you live within the Bewick’s Wren’s range, you might attract this bird to your yard by landscaping with native shrubs such as willow, mesquite, elderberry, and chaparral plants, or by keeping a brush pile in your yard.

Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. Find out more about nest boxes on our Attract Birds pages. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site.

Find This Bird

Listen and watch for Bewick’s Wrens in dry, brushy or scrubby environments in western North America. These birds don't spend a lot of time in the open, so listen for the male's loud song during summer, or for raspy calls coming from tangles of shrubs.