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Winter Wren


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.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
3.1–4.7 in
8–12 cm
4.7–6.3 in
12–16 cm
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.
  • The oldest recorded Winter Wren was a female and at least 6 years, 6 months old, when she was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in California.



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.



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


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



Ground Forager

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


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Winter Wren populations have generally been stable, and possibly experienced a small increase between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 11 million with 99% spending part of the time in the U.S., and 91% in Canada. This is a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species, and rates an 8 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Winter Wren is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.


Range Map Help

Winter Wren Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

You Might Also Like

Winter Wren Wraparound. Story in Living Bird magazine.

eBird Occurrence Maps, Winter Wren



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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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