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House Wren

From Opus

JuvenilePhoto by MuskratNorth-eastern Pennsylvania, USA
Photo by Muskrat
North-eastern Pennsylvania, USA
Troglodytes aedon


[edit] Identification

4 1/2 -5 1/4" (11-13 cm).

  • Tiny bird
  • Short tail, often held cocked over the back
  • Dusky brown above
  • Paler below, with no distinctive markings

[edit] Similar Species

Winter Wren is similar but smaller and darker, with shorter tail and pale eyebrow.

[edit] Distribution

As discussed below, there are four main groups within house wren, which may become full species.

  • Northern House Wren: breeds in much of the United States and southern parts of Canada; members of this groups are at least partly migratory.
  • Brown-throated Wren: mainly a Mexican grouping, but also found in southern Arizona.
  • Southern House Wren: much of Central and South America.
  • Caribbean House Wren: several islands in the Lesser Antilles and Cozumel off Mexico (possibly even with one species per island).

[edit] Taxonomy

Clements1 accepts more than 30 subspecies of House Wren. There has been several rumblings about splitting this species into several species, with the approximate divisions given in the section on "Distribution" above. The taxonomic status of House Wren have been discussed elsewhere in Birdforum3 and there are indications that the northern group may need to be split into an eastern and western form.

Cobb's Wren was formerly included in this species.

[edit] Subspecies

Northern House Wren

Caribbean House Wren (possibly one species per island)

Brown-throated House Wren

  • T. a. cahooni: Mountains of south-eastern Arizona to central Mexican plateau
  • T. a. brunneicollis: Central and southern Mexico (San Luis Potosí and Hidalgo to Oaxaca)
  • T. a. compositus: Mountains of eastern Mexico (Coahuila and Nuevo León to Puebla)
  • T. a. nitidus: Southern Mexico (Mount Zempoaltepec in Oaxaca)

Southern House Wren

  • T. a. intermedius: Southern Mexico (south-eastern Oaxaca and eastern Tabasco) to Costa Rica
  • T. a. inquietus: Extreme southern Costa Rica, Panama and Pearl Islands
  • T. a. carychrous: Coiba Island (Panama)
  • T. a. clarus: Trinidad, the Guianas, Venezuela, Brazil, northern Peru, Colombia
  • T. a. atopus: Northern Colombia (Santa Marta region)
  • T. a. striatulus: Western and Central Andes of Colombia
  • T. a. columbae: Eastern Colombia and western Venezuela
  • T. a. albicans: South-Western Colombia and western Ecuador
  • T. a. tobagensis: Tobago
  • T. a. audax: Arid littoral of western Peru (Cajamarca to northern Ica)
  • T. a. puna: Puna of northern Peru to north-western Bolivia (La Paz)
  • T. a. rex: Central and eastern Bolivia
  • T. a. carabayae: Central and southern Peru (Junín, Cusco and Puno)
  • T. a. tecellatus: Coastal southern Peru (Arequipa) to northern Chile (Tarapacá)
  • T. a. atacamensis: Northern Chile (Antofagasta, Atacama and northern Coquimbo)
  • T. a. musculus: Central and southern Brazil to eastern Paraguay and north-eastern Argentina (Misiones)
  • T. a. bonariae: Southern Brazil, Uruguay and north-eastern Argentina
  • T. a.n chilensis: Southern Chile and southern Argentina to Tierra del Fuego

[edit] Habitat

Residential areas, city parks, farmlands, and woodland edges.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Breeding

The nest is cup shaped, made of sticks, grass and lined with feathers. 5-8 white, brown-speckled eggs are laid.

[edit] Vocalisation

Song is very variable among the different populations, but normally relatively standard within each population. In the USA often first rising, then falling, and often described as having a bubbling quality.

Listen in an external program
Recording by NJLarsen in Dominica. Bird is subspecies rufescens

Listen in an external program
Recording by NJLarsen in Rancho Naturalista, Costa Rica. Bird is subspecies intermedius

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2012. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to October 2012. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at
  2. eNature
  3. Second half of this thread was mostly about House Wren taxonomy
  4. Birdforum thread discussing Cobb's Wren

[edit] External Links

This video link searches for House Wren using the Chilean local name of Chercán (Troglodytes aedon chilensis)


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