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Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes


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Winter Wren
credit: Martien Brand/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Troglodytidae, Wrens view all from this family

Description ADULT Has reddish brown upperparts, with barring on wings and tail; note the pale buff supercilium. Underparts are buffy brown, with barring on the flanks. Bill is needlelike and legs are reddish orange in all birds. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but with subtly less distinct barring.

Dimensions Length: 4-4 1/2" (10-11cm)

Habitat Present year-round in parts of northeast, but mainly a locally common summer visitor (mainly Apr-Aug), migrating mainly to southeastern U.S. for winter. Favors dense, damp woodland and scrub.

Observation Tips Easy to overlook. Listen for the call or loud song.

Range Alaska, Texas, California, Northwest, Plains, Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Western Canada, Eastern Canada, Southwest, Southeast, Florida

Voice Unusually loud for a little bird. Song is variable and warbling, often ending in a trill; call is a sharp chip-chip.

Discussion Smaller than House Wren; much shorter tail is often cocked. Unobtrusive and looks rather mouselike as it creeps through low vegetation after insects. Flies on whirring wingbeats, usually from one patch of cover to another. Extremely vocal and unseen birds are often detected by their distinctive call. Sexes are similar, but show subtle regional variation; eastern ssp. hiemalis is described here. (It is likely that the eastern and western subspecies will be given full species status in the near future.)