wren

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wren, small, plump perching songbird of the family Troglodytidae. There are about 60 wren species, and all except one are restricted to the New World. The plumage is usually brown or reddish above and white, gray, or buff, often streaked, below. Wrens are similar to sparrows but have longer, slender bills and usually perch with their tails cocked straight up. They are valuable insect destroyers. Among the best singers are the canyon, Carolina, and winter wrens. Most wrens nest in natural holes and cavities; house wrens, which range over most of the United States and S Canada, will nest in boxes built for them and in crannies about dwellings. Also found in North America are the cactus, rock, and marsh wrens. The common European wren is a winter wren. Wrens are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes.

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wren / ren/ • n. 1. a small short-winged songbird found chiefly in the New World. • Family Troglodytidae: many genera and numerous species, in particular the very small Troglodytes troglodytes (winter wren), which has a short cocked tail and is the only wren that occurs the Old World. 2. any of a number of small songbirds that resemble the true wrens in size or appearance.

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wren the wren is proverbial for its small size. It was traditionally regarded as a sacred bird, and Pliny notes that there was antipathy between the wren and the eagle because the wren had been given the title of the ‘king of the birds’; this relates to the fable in which the wren concealed itself on the eagle's back, and could thus claim that it had flown higher than the eagle.

In the UK, Wren (as a partial acronym) is a name for a member of the former Women's Royal Naval Service.

See also the robin and the wren are God's cock and hen.

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wren Small, insect-eating songbird of temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and most of the New World. Many species have white facial lines. The typical winter wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) has a slender bill, upright tail, and dark brownish plumage; length: to 10cm (4in). Family Troglodytidae.

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wren OE. wrenna, wrænna, obscurely rel. to OHG. wrend(il)o, Icel. rindill.