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Winter Wren

Troglodytes hiemalis ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: TROGLODYTIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Small in stature and incomparably energetic in voice, the Winter Wren inhabits moist forests and other habitats across much of eastern North America. They were formerly considered one species that occupied northern forests across the globe. But in 2010, on the basis of vocalizations and genetics, they were split into three species, including the Pacific Wren of western North America and the Eurasian Wren in the Old World.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
3.1–4.7 in
8–12 cm
Wingspan
4.7–6.3 in
12–16 cm
Weight
0.3–0.4 oz
8–12 g
Other Names
  • Wren (British)
  • Troglodyte mignon (French)
  • Chivirín chochín (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Per unit weight, the Winter Wren delivers its song with 10 times more power than a crowing rooster.
  • The Winter Wren sometimes builds several nests in a single breeding season. Nests are used for roosting or for repeated breeding attempts.
  • Where the ranges of the Pacific Wren and Winter Wren come together, in British Columbia, the two almost identical species sing different songs. The males battle each other, but the females seem to only choose mates that sing "their" song—keeping interbreeding to a minimum. Read more details in Living Bird magazine.

Habitat


Forest

Breeds in many different habitat types, from cliff faces to riparian areas to various forests; occurs in greatest densities in coniferous forests. Prefers areas with fallen logs and other dead wood.

Food


Insects

Invertebrates, including insects, insect larvae, millipedes, spiders, and others.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1–9 eggs
Egg Description
White, with variable reddish brown spotting.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless with little down.
Nest Description

Domed structure with entrance hole on side, made of moss, bark, twigs, rootlets, grass, feathers, hair, and decayed wood, lined with feathers and hair. Placed in hole. May use existing cavities, such as woodpecker holes, excavate holes in banks, or build nests on root bases and branches.

Nest Placement

Cavity

Behavior


Ground Forager

Feeds methodically in low shrubs, on the ground, near the bases of trees, and around fallen dead wood.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Populations generally stable or increasing in most of range.

Credits

  • Hejl, S. J., J. A. Holmes, and D. E. Kroodsma. 2002. Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes). In The Birds of North America, No. 623 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Winter Wren Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

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Winter Wren Wraparound. Story in Living Bird magazine.