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Marsh Wren

ID Info
Silhouette WrensWrens
Marsh WrenCistothorus palustris
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Troglodytidae

Basic Description

The pugnacious Marsh Wren clings to wetland vegetation, tail cocked and legs splayed, often with each foot wrapped around a different stalk. This rusty-brown wren has black-and-white streaks down its back and a white eyebrow. It sings a rapid-fire gurgling, trilling, and buzzy song from the depths of the marsh where its secretive life unfolds. Under the cover of reeds, males build multiple nests and breed with more than one female. They also destroy eggs and nestlings of other Marsh Wrens and marsh-nesting birds.

More ID Info
image of range map for Marsh Wren
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Seeing a Marsh Wren in its often impenetrable marsh habitat can be tough, but these few tips might help. First, find a marsh with an elevated boardwalk. These provide more of a bird's-eye view of the cattails, allowing you to scan across more of the marsh and look down into it. Second, be there at the right time. Marsh Wrens are more vocal at dawn and dusk, and in the spring males are more likely to pop out of the marsh to sing from a taller cattail. Third, have your hands on your binoculars to quickly check out any movement you spot in the reeds.

Other Names

  • Cucarachero Pantanero (Spanish)
  • Troglodyte des marais (French)
  • Cool Facts