Canyon WrenCatherpes mexicanus
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Troglodytidae
A tiny bird with a big voice, the Canyon Wren sings a gorgeous series of sweet, cascading whistles that echo off the rocky walls of its canyon habitat. Canyon Wrens are incredibly agile birds that hunt for insects mostly among rocks, scaling cliff faces and using their long, slender bills to probe into crevices with surgical precision. They are a rich cinnamon-brown, with a salt-and-pepper pattern on the head and a neat white throat patch.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Canyon Wrens can be quite common in dry, rocky canyons of western North America. Listen for their loud song, which is so sweet and musical that it grabs the attention of non-birders and birders alike. The birds themselves blend well with their surroundings—watch canyon walls and other steep rocky surfaces patiently until a small, active bird bounces into view.
- Cucarachero Barranquero (Spanish)
- Troglodyte des canyons (French)
- Cool Facts
- The vertebral column of the Canyon Wren is attached higher on the skull than it is on most birds. This modification, along with a slightly flattened skull, allows a Canyon Wren to probe for food in tight crevices without bumping its head.
- The Canyon Wren is not known to drink water. It probably gets all the water it needs from its insect prey. It has been seen foraging along the sides of desert springs but not drinking.
- Canyon Wrens sometimes steal insects trapped in spiderwebs or stowed in wasp nests.
- White-throated Swifts sometimes nest on the same cliff walls as Canyon Wrens. Researchers in Arizona discovered that swifts respond aggressively when they hear Canyon Wrens. The swifts called loudly or divebombed the singer—suggesting the swifts see Canyon Wrens as a threat, in the same manner that House Wrens sometimes raid nests of other bird species.
- The oldest recorded Canyon Wren was a female at least 4 years, 10 months old when she was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Arizona in 2015.