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Canyon Wren

Catherpes mexicanus ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: TROGLODYTIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Found throughout the arid mountain country and canyonlands of western North America, the Canyon Wren nests and feeds in narrow rock crevices. Often, it announces its presence by its beautiful and distinctive song, a loud cascade of musical whistles.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
4.3–5.9 in
11–15 cm
Wingspan
7.5 in
19 cm
Weight
0.3–0.6 oz
9–18 g
Other Names
  • Railleur, Troglodyte des canons (French)
  • Saltapared risquero, Saltapared barraquero (Spanish)

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 foraging Canyon Wren to thrust its bill forward into tight crevices without bumping its head.
  • The Canyon Wren can climb up, down, and across rocks. A low center of gravity, large feet, and sharp claws aid in such locomotion.
  • 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.
  • The oldest recorded Canyon Wren was a female, and at least 4 years, 10 months old when she was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Arizona in 2015. She had been banded in the same state in 2011.

Habitat


Mountains

Cliffs, canyons, rocky outcrops, and boulder piles.

Food


Insects

Spiders and insects.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3–7 eggs
Egg Description
White, with small, faint reddish-brown dots.
Condition at Hatching
Entirely featherless, pink, with eyes closed.
Nest Description

A cup made of twigs and other coarse material, lined with lichens, soft plant material, wool, webs, or feathers. In caverns, crevices, or attached to rock face, protected from above by ledge or shelf.

Nest Placement

Cliff

Behavior


Ground Forager

Gleans spiders and insects from rock surfaces, often from tight crevices.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Canyon Wren populations appear to have been stable between 1966 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. However the species is not well monitored, and it may be declining in some areas. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 400,000, with 68% living in the U.S., and 32% in Mexico. The species rates a 9 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Canyon Wren is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List.

Credits

Range Map Help

Canyon Wren Range Map
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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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