• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Canyon Wren - BirdForum Opus

Photo by digishooter
Sawmill Rd, Kern Co., California, USA, April 2007
Catherpes mexicanus


Photo © by benoitjh
Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, 17 April 2021

L. 14.5cm (5.75 in)
Ws. 19cm (7.5")

  • Deep rufous back, belly and tail
  • Barring on tail
  • White throat
  • Very long bill
  • Often appears streamlined and elongated

Very long bill for probing in rock crevices.

It is most conclusively identified by habitat and song.


A broad band from the central western U.S. deeply into central Mexico. Pacific Coast of California throughout Baja California where there is suitable habitat.


The only species in genus Catherpes.


Between 3 and 9[2] subspecies are recognised, depending on the authority:

  • C. m. conspersus:
  • C. m. albifrons:
  • South-western Texas and northern Mexico (south to Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí)
  • C. m. mexicanus:
  • Mexico (southern Chihuahua to Isthmus of Tehuantepec)


Canyons, especially with year-round water. Also inhabits cliffs and rock formations.


Bobs when perched, cocks tail over back.


Nests in cracks in rock walls, flying rapidly and expertly into narrow crevices. Utilizes favorite temporary perches, often repeating the same sequence of flights and landings when returning to the nest.


Forages for food (insects and spiders) among rocks.


Song: Distinct: a descending series of notes that gradually slows in cadence as each note (Peuw) increases in length. The song can be repeated several times in a minute, and often echoes from the canyon walls, rendering it an integral part of the habitat in which it lives. Reminiscent of a wind-up toy that gradually runs down.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Lepage D. (2021) [Avibase - https://avibase.ca/EAD14427]. Retrieved 23 April 2021
  3. All About Birds

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1