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Sedge Wren

From Opus

Sedge Wren (stellaris subspecies) groupPhoto © by mcdomikPheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton, WI, USA
Sedge Wren (stellaris subspecies) group
Photo © by mcdomik
Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton, WI, USA
Cistothorus platensis

Includes: Grass Wren


[edit] Identification

10-12cm (4")
Adult: Brown upperparts, light brown belly and flanks, white throat and breast. The back has pale streaks. Dark cap with pale streaks, a faint line over the eye and a short thin pale bill. Sexes alike. Very hard to see, much easier to locate by sound.
Juvenile: Similar to adults but overall warmer, more buffy with less defined facial markings and usually dark bill.

[edit] Distribution

Paramo Wren aequatorialis groupPhoto © by EcuadorrebelCotopaxi, Ecuador, September 2010
Paramo Wren aequatorialis group
Photo © by Ecuadorrebel
Cotopaxi, Ecuador, September 2010

USA and Canada: Main breeding range in the U.S. from North Dakota and southern Manitoba east to southwestern Ontario and Michigan south to eastern Nebraska east to Indiana. Localized in Ohio, New York, Vermont and New Jersey. Winters in eastern Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida.
Central America: from Mexico to western Panama.
South America: In the north limited to mountain ranges, but in the southern cone more widespread; also found in the Falkland Islands.

[edit] Taxonomy

There are numerous subspecies. These are sometimes divided into two main groups which sometimes are considered as separate species: The Sedge Wren (Cistothorus stellaris) from North America and the Grass Wren (Cistothorus platensis) from South America.

[edit] Subspecies

Taxonomy is complex with the 18-20 recognized races traditionally organized into three to five geographical groups: stellaris from USA and Canada, the Middle America group from Mexico to western Panama, the polyglottus group from the Andes and other mountains in northern South America, the platensis group of Argentina and Chile, and the falklandicus group from the Falkland Islands. However Robbins & Nyári (2014)[6] proposed recognition of nine species within a broadly defined platensis. Clements et al. (2017)[1] and Kroodsma et al. (2018)[4] provisionally recognize these proposed nine species as subspecies groups.

Austral Wren group, falklandicus subspecies. Photo © by crispash Near Lighthouse, Stanley, Falkland Islands, March 2005
Austral Wren group, falklandicus subspecies.
Photo © by crispash
Near Lighthouse, Stanley, Falkland Islands, March 2005
Juvenile of the Austral Wren group, falklandicus subspecies. Photo © by Joseph MorlanGypsy Cove, Stanley, Falkland Islands, 3 March 2018
Juvenile of the Austral Wren group, falklandicus subspecies.
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Gypsy Cove, Stanley, Falkland Islands, 3 March 2018

Sedge Wren Group - US & Canada

Grass Wren Group - Highlands of Middle America

  • C. p. tinnulus: Western Mexico (Nayarit to Michoacán, México and Distrito Federal)
  • C. p. potosinus: North-central Mexico (San Luis Potosí)
  • C. p. jalapensis: Eastern Mexico (interior central Veracruz to Orizaba region)
  • C. p. warneri: Tropical southern Mexico (Veracruz, Tabasco and western Chiapas)
  • C. p. elegans: South-central Guatemala
  • C. p. russelli: Pine ridge region of Belize
  • C. p. graberi: Eastern Honduras to north-eastern Nicaragua
  • C. p. lucidus: Subtropical central Costa Rica to western Panama (Chiriquí)

Venezuelan Wren Group - Tepuis of Venezuela.

Paramo Wren Group - Paramos of Andean Venezuela, Colombia south to N Peru.

  • C. p. aequatorialis: Central and Western Andes of southern Colombia and Ecuador

Junin Wren Group - Highlands of N Peru, Junin.

  • C. p. graminicola: Andes from southern Ecuador south through Peru to northwestern Bolivia (La Paz)

Puna Wren Group - Ayacucho Peru to Altiplano of Bolivia.

  • C. p. minimus: Southern Peru in Puno (Oconeque)

Tucuman Wren Group - Santa Cruz, Bolivia south to Cordoba, Argentina.

  • C. p. tucumanus: North-western Argentina (Jujuy to Catamarca and Tucumán)

Pampas Wren Group - Lowlands of Bolivia east through Paraguay and S Brazil south through Uruguay to central Argentina.

  • C. p. polyglottus: South-eastern Brazil (Goiás and Minas Gerais) to Paraguay and north-eastern Argentina
  • C. p. platensis: Central and eastern Argentina to Córdoba and Mendoza

Austral Wren Group - Chile, Pagagonia & the Falklands

  • C. p. hornensis: Southern Argentina (Neuquén) and Chile (Coquimbo) to Tierra del Fuego
  • C. p. falklandicus: Falkland Islands

[edit] Habitat

Wet meadows and marsh edges.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Breeding

The male builds the nest which is rounded, with a side entrance, well hidden, and attached to low vegetation. 2-8 white eggs are laid.

[edit] Diet

The diet includes insects and spiders.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Herkert, J. R., D. E. Kroodsma, and J. P. Gibbs (2001). Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.
  3. Jaramillo, A. (2014) Sedge Wren Shakeup!! (retrieved from on 24 May 2018)
  4. Kroodsma, D., Brewer, D., Marks, J.S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Grass Wren (Cistothorus platensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 May 2018)
  5. Remsen, J. V., Jr., J. I. Areta, C. D. Cadena, S. Claramunt, A. Jaramillo, J. F. Pacheco, M. B. Robbins, F. G. Stiles, D. F. Stotz, and K. J. Zimmer. Version [May 2018]. A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithologists' Union.
  6. Robbins, M.B. & Nyári, Á.S. (2014) Canada to Tierra del Fuego: species limits and historical biogeography of the Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis). Wilson J. Orn. 126(4): 649–662.
  7. Traylor, M. A. 1988. Geographic variation and evolution in South American Cistothorus platensis (Aves: Troglodytidae). Fieldiana Zool. no. 48:1-35.

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