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Family: Troglodytidae Swainson, 1832 = Wren


Wren birds are a family of passerine birds. Very small birds (body length from 8 to 22 cm). The color of the upper body is tan, the abdomen is lighter. The beak is subulate, thin, sharp, sometimes slightly curved downward.

The wings are short, rounded. They fly little, over short distances, preferring to move along branches and on the ground in thickets of vegetation. A distinctive feature of these birds is a short tail raised up. 14 genera, about 60 species.

Distributed mainly in South America and in the southwest of North America. Common Wren is the only species found outside of America, in a large part of Eurasia and North West Africa. In Russia, this is the only bird of American origin that ornithologists call the “king of fences” for her love of hedges and cluttered, overgrown shrubs.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wren Scientific classification
A type:Chordate
Latin name Troglodytidae Swainson, 1832 Childbirth
  • Toothed bills (Odontorchilus)
  • Long-billed wrens (Salpinctes)
  • Flute Wrens (Microcerculus)
  • Cactus Wrens (Campylorhynchus)
  • Canyon Wrens (Catherpes)
  • Thin-billed wrens (Hylorchilus)
  • Longtail Wrens (Thryomanes)
  • Shrub Wrens (Thryothorus)
  • Chestnut Wrens (Cinnycerthia)
  • Thick-billed Wren (Cyphorhinus)
  • White-bellied Wren (Urosila)
  • Thryorchilus
  • Forest Wrens (Henicorhina)
  • Real Wrens (Troglodytes)
  • Short-billed Wren (Cistothorus)
  • Cuban Wrens (Ferminia)

Wren (lat. Troglodytidae ) - a family of small and medium-sized passerine birds, with the exception of one species living in the New World. Includes about 80 species, divided into 14-20 genera. Motile birds stand out for their solid physique, striped plumage of their wings and often a short tail raised upwards. They got their scientific name in honor of the troglodytes - primitive cavemen, since many species build their nests in the form of dark spherical houses, somewhat reminiscent of caves. Some species, especially those living in the tropical zone, are currently poorly studied.


Small or medium sized birds, motile. The smallest member of the family should be considered the grassy short-billed wren (Cistothorus platensis), living in the Americas - the length of an adult bird is about 9 cm and its weight is 7 g. The largest species is a large cactus wren (Campylorhynchus chiapensis) about 22 cm long and weighing 57 g - lives in subtropical and tropical forests of Mexico. The plumage is soft and fluffy, dull - usually brownish-chestnut with a lighter belly, sometimes with the presence of shades of white or black. In almost all wrens, the wing feathers of the wings and tail feathers of the tail have clearly visible transverse stripes, which distinguishes them from other passerine birds. The wings are relatively short, rounded, have 10 fly feathers, the last of which is sometimes greatly reduced. The tail is usually rounded, short, although it can reach half the length of the body in some dentate and cactus wrens. Steering feathers 12, exception - Cuban (Ferminia cerverai), thin-billed (Hylorchilus sumichrasti) and mountain (Thryorchilus browni) wrens with tail feathers 10. Birds often raise their tail in a column, which is also one of the hallmarks of the family. The beak is most often thin and in many cases is noticeably bent downward, however its shape can vary significantly among different species, for example, in the singing thick-billed wren (Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus) He looks strong and massive. Sexual dimorphism is not expressed in any species, that is, males and females do not have visible differences between themselves. Young birds only in some cases noticeably differ from adults.


Without exception, all species live in America, and only one of them is an ordinary wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) - also nests in the Old World - on the vast territory of Eurasia (including in the Russian Federation) and in north-west Africa. The greatest biodiversity of species in the family was noted in Central and in the north of South America - for example, 30 species of wren live in Colombia, and 22 species in a small area of ​​Costa Rica. To the north of Mexico, the diversity of birds decreases significantly - in the United States there are 10 species, and in Canada only 8. Also, only a few species are common in the Amazon. On the contrary, in the mountains - in particular, in the Andes, the number of varieties increases sharply, which is explained by the great variety of natural landscapes at different heights and with different levels of humidity.

Biotopes and climatic conditions in individual species may differ markedly from each other. The habitats of shrubby wrens, to which the majority of species belong, are in one way or another connected with dense undergrowth - bush thickets, forest edges with dense vegetation, overgrown river banks, and clearings. Notched wrens live among the dense foliage of tropical foliage of South America. Chestnut wrens usually nest in tropical rainforests with rich forest litter at an altitude of 1,500–3,500 m above sea level. Thick-billed wrens are also associated with the humid tropical forest, however, two of the three species prefer low-lying areas up to 1000 m above sea level. Wrenches-flutists live in similar conditions. The habitats of short-billed wrens range from wetlands with stagnant water to semi-arid steppes. Thin-billed wrens are extremely demanding on the environment - they can be seen only in wooded areas with open limestone rocks. Cuban Wren (Ferminia cerverai), belonging to the monotypic genus, lives only in swampy meadows with thickets of sword-grass (Cladium jarnaicense) A special niche is occupied by some types of cactus wrens - their territory includes territories with an arid climate - deserts, semi-deserts and waterless mountain slopes.


As a rule, wrens are rather secretive and cautious birds, they are difficult to see and even harder to catch by surprise. They spend most of the time in dense grass and disappear at the slightest danger. This is especially true for flute wrens, and in particular for the nightingale flute wren (Microcerculus marginatus) However, there are exceptions - for example, cactus wrens behave at ease and openly. Nevertheless, despite its secrecy, many birds sing loudly during the mating season, thereby marking the territory. So, according to the characteristic singing in the middle of spring, you can easily find an ordinary wren sitting on a high stump or tree branch. In cactus and shrubby wrens, sometimes you can hear the joint singing of a male and a female.

Social behavior is somewhat different in different species. Chestnut and serratus wrens live in flocks, often together with other birds. The same can be said of the variegated shrubby wren (Thryothorus thoracicus), which can often be seen in the company of ants (Thamnophilidae) However, other species - especially those that live in a more moderate climate, behave separately, meeting singly or in pairs. The common hive also belongs to the latter - despite its small size, it protects a fairly significant area around the nest from other birds.


One of the features of many species of wren in the nesting period is their desire to build numerous nests, which they often use only for overnight stay. An example of such behavior is short-billed wrens, and in particular swamp wrens (Cistothorus palustris), which is able to build up to 20 nests per season. The common wren also builds several (up to eight) nests, of which only one will subsequently be used for reproduction. In cactus wrens, the barely grown chicks themselves already begin to build their own nests, although their puberty comes much later. Usually the male is engaged in the construction, while the female chooses a place for masonry and arranges the nest. Nests are usually a spherical structure with a side entrance inward.

Another rare characteristic of passerine birds in the family as a whole is polygamy in the form of a polygyny, when several males fall on one male at once, or polyandry, when several males take care of one female at once. Finally, communal nesting is strongly developed in some species in the family, when birds that are not directly involved in breeding nevertheless protect the nesting territories from predators and other birds, and also look after the offspring. To a large extent, this applies to tropical species of cactus wrens - for example, in banded cactus wrens, the number of "helpers" can reach 12 individuals, which, as a rule, are direct descendants of the male or female from previous clutches. It is also noted that the number of clutches per season directly depends on the presence of “helpers”: in their absence, the probability of a second clutch is significantly reduced.


The diet of most species, mainly those living in the tropics, is currently very little studied. In species whose biology is more or less known, various arthropods form the basis of nutrition, however, these data can also be obtained in certain areas and in a certain season, which cannot represent the whole picture.


The following genera are distinguished in the family:

  • Campylorhynchus - Cactus Wren
  • Catherpes - Canyon Wrens
  • Cinnycerthia - Chestnut Wrens
  • Cistothorus - Short-billed Wren
  • Cyphorhinus - Thick-billed Wren
  • Ferminia - Cuban Wrens
  • Henicorhina - Forest Wrens
  • Hylorchilus - Small-billed Wren
  • Microcerculus - Flute Wrens
  • Odontorchilus - Toothed Wren
  • Salpinctes - Long-Billed Wrens
  • Thryomanes - Long-Billed Wrens
  • Thryorchilus
  • Thryothorus - Shrub Wren
  • Troglodytes - (Real) Wrens
  • Uropsila - White-bellied Wren

Species list

  • Campylorhynchus 15
    • LC Griffon Cactus Wren / Campylorhynchus albobrunneus
    • LC Tiger Cactus Wren / Campylorhynchus zonatus
    • LC Gray-banded Cactus Wren / Campylorhynchus megalopterus
    • LC Striped Cactus Wren / Campylorhynchus nuchalis
    • LC Marble Cactus Wren / Campylorhynchus fasciatus
    • LC Great Cactus Wren / Campylorhynchus chiapensis
    • LC Beaver Cactus Wren / Campylorhynchus griseus
    • LC Lynx cactus wren / Campylorhynchus rufinucha
    • LCCampylorhynchus humilis
    • LCCampylorhynchus capistratus
    • LC Mexican Cactus Wren / Campylorhynchus gularis
    • LC Multicolored Cactus Wren / Campylorhynchus jocosus
    • NT Yucatan Cactus Wren / Campylorhynchus yucatanicus
    • LC Common Cactus Wren / Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus
    • LC Thrush-shaped Cactus Wren / Campylorhynchus turdinus
  • Odontorchilus 2
    • LC Slate dentate bite wren / Odontorchilus branickii
    • NT Mouse Cogworm Wren / Odontorchilus cinereus
  • Salpinctes 1
    • LC Rocky Long-Billed Wren / Salpinctes obsoletus
  • Catherpes 1
    • LC Canyon Long-Billed Wren / Catherpes mexicanus
  • Hylorchilus 2
    • NT Small-billed Wren / Hylorchilus sumichrasti
    • VuHylorchilus navai
  • Cinnycerthia 4
    • LC Andean chestnut wren / Cinnycerthia unirufa
    • LCCinnycerthia olivascens
    • LC Peruvian Chestnut Wren / Cinnycerthia peruana
    • LCCinnycerthia fulva
  • Cistothorus 5
    • LCCistothorus stellaris
    • LC Short-billed Short-billed Wren / Cistothorus mer> EN Great Short-billed Wren / Cistothorus apolinari
    • LC Short-billed herbal wren / Cistothorus platensis
    • LC Short-billed Short-billed Wren / Cistothorus palustris
  • Thryomanes 1
    • LC Buick Longtail Wren / Thryomanes bewickii
  • Ferminia 1
    • EN Cuban Wren / Ferminia cerverai
  • Pheugopedius 12
    • LC Black-necked Shrub Wren / Pheugopedius atrogularis
    • LC Dark-headed shrubbery wren / Pheugopedius spadix
    • LC Black-bellied Shrub Wren / Pheugopedius fasciatoventris
    • LC Brown-tailed shrub wren / Pheugopedius euophrys
    • LCPheugopedius eisenmanni
    • LC Moustached Shrub Wren / Pheugopedius genibarbis
    • LCPheugopedius mystacalis
    • LC Korai Shrub Wren / Pheugopedius coraya
    • LC Bright shrub hive / Pheugopedius felix
    • LC Spotted Shrub Wren / Pheugopedius maculipectus
    • LC Red-breasted Shrub Wren / Pheugopedius rutilus
    • LCPheugopedius sclateri
  • Thryophilus 5
    • LC Acacia Shrub Wren / Thryophilus pleurostictus
    • LC Red-backed Shrub Wren / Thryophilus rufalbus
    • EN Antioch Shrub Wren / Thryophilus sernai
    • CR Nysfooro Shrubbery Wren / Thryophilus nicefori
    • LC Striped shrubby wren / Thryophilus sinaloa
  • Cantorchilus 12
    • LC Plain Shrub Wren / Cantorchilus modestus
    • LCCantorchilus zeledoni
    • NECantorchilus elutus
    • LC White-eared shrubby wren / Cantorchilus leucotis
    • LC Shrubby Wren / Cantorchilus superciliaris
    • LC Guarai Shrub Wren / Cantorchilus guarayanus
    • LC Long-billed shrubbery wren / Cantorchilus longirostris
    • LC Gray shrubby wren / Cantorchilus griseus
    • LC Shrub Salvina / Cantorchilus semibadius
    • LC Chestnut Shrub Wren / Cantorchilus nigricapillus
    • LC Variegated Shrub Wren / Cantorchilus thoracicus
    • LCCantorchilus leucopogon
  • Thryothorus 1
    • LC Caroline Shrub Wren / Thryothorus ludovicianus
  • Troglodytes 12
    • LC Wren / Troglodytes troglodytes
    • LCTroglodytes hiemalis
    • LCTroglodytes pacificus
    • VuTroglodytes tanneri
    • LC House Wren / Troglodytes aedon
    • LCTroglodytes cobbi
    • NT Socorre Longtail Wren / Troglodytes sissonii
    • LCTroglodytes rufociliatus
    • LCTroglodytes ochraceus
    • LC Redhead Wren / Troglodytes solstitialis
    • CRTroglodytes monticola
    • LC Roraima Wren / Troglodytes rufulus
  • Thryorchilus 1
    • LC Mountain Wren / Thryorchilus browni
  • Urosila 1
    • LC White-bellied Wren / Uropsila leucogastra
  • Henicorhina 5
    • LC White-breasted Forest Wren / Henicorhina leucosticta
    • LC Gray-breasted Forest Wren / Henicorhina leucophrys
    • NTHenicorhina anachoreta
    • NT Winged Forest Wren / Henicorhina leucoptera
    • CRHenicorhina negreti
  • Microcerculus 4
    • LCMicrocerculus philomela
    • LC Nightingale Wren-Flutist / Microcerculus marginatus
    • LC Common Wren-Flutist / Microcerculus ustulatus
    • LC Flared Wren / Microcerculus bambla
  • Cyphorhinus 3
    • LC Brown-billed thick-billed wren / Cyphorhinus thoracicus
    • LC Songbird Wren / Cyphorhinus arada
    • LCCyphorhinus phaeocephalus

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