• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer
Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Rock Wren

Salpinctes obsoletus ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: TROGLODYTIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Rock Wren Photo

A pale gray bird of rocky areas, the Rock Wren is found throughout arid western North America.

Piine to Prairie TrailSponsored Ad
Merlin Bird ID app

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
4.7–5.9 in
12–15 cm
Wingspan
9.1 in
23 cm
Weight
0.5–0.6 oz
15–18 g
Other Names
  • Troglodyte des rochers (French)
  • Chivirín saltarroca, Troglodita saltarroca, Saltapared roquero (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The male Rock Wren is a truly remarkable singer and can have a large song repertoire of 100 or more song types, many of which seem to be learned from neighbors.
  • The Rock Wren usually builds a pavement or walkway of small, flat stones or pebbles that leads to the nest cavity. The nest is usually located in a rock crevice out of sight, but the pavement may give away the nest’s location. The function of this pavement is unknown.
  • The Rock Wren is not known to drink water, but instead gets all it needs from its food. Even five birds kept in captivity did not drink water when it was available.

Habitat


Mountains

Arid or semiarid areas with exposed rock; desert to alpine habitats.

Food


Insects

Insects and other arthropods.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1–10 eggs
Egg Description
White with fine spots of reddish brown.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless, with some down.
Nest Description

Loose cup built with grass, bits of wood, bark, moss, hair, and occasionally fresh plant material in shallow space; lined with rootlets, hair, wool, spider silk. Placed in cavity or crevice in or among rocks, usually with foundation of stone and often with pavement of small stones extending from nest to entrance of nest cavity and sometimes beyond.

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Ground Forager

Gleans prey from rocks, removes prey from spider webs; repeatedly hops vertically from ground to capture flying insects.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Declining throughout range.

Credits

  • Lowther, P. E., D. E. Kroodsma, and G. H. Farley. 2000. Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus). In The Birds of North America, No. 486 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Rock Wren Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings