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Cactus Wren Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus


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Cactus Wren
credit: Mark Wagner/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Troglodytidae, Wrens view all from this family

Description ADULT Has brown or gray-brown upperparts overall, with dark barring on wings and tail and white streaks on back; in flight, note white tips and barred white outer edge to tail. Crown is rufous brown, and note the striking white supercilium. Face is streaked graybrown and underparts are whitish overall, but heavily spotted on the throat and breast. Belly and flanks are flushed orange-buff in interior birds, but white and more heavily spotted in birds from coastal California. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but with less distinct markings.

Dimensions Length: 7-8 1/4" (18-21 cm)

Habitat Fairly common resident of dry brushy and desert habitats.

Observation Tips Easy to see in suitable locations.

Range Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Texas, Plains, California

Voice Song is a rapid series of dry, chattering notes; calls include various harsh notes.

Discussion Large and distinctive desert wren that recalls a miniature thrasher; has a proportionately large, downcurved bill. Often perches on, or forages among, cacti for insects and spiders. Builds decoy and real nests among dense cholla cacti. Sexes are similar.