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Troglodytidae

Troglodytidae (wrens; class Aves, order Passeriformes) A family of small to medium-sized birds which have brown plumage, some with white and chestnut areas. Their wings, tails, and sides are often barred, streaked, or spotted. Their bills are slender, medium to long, and slightly decurved, their wings short and rounded, and their tails short to long, and often held cocked. Their legs and feet are strong, with long claws. They inhabit forests, brush, reed-beds, rocks, and deserts, feed on insects and spiders, and most build domed nests in trees or rock cavities, or low in grass or bushes. The four species of Cistothorus (marsh wrens), found in America, inhabit grassland as well as marshes. Troglodytes troglodytes (wren or winter wren), a small, brown bird with pale supercilia and barred wings and tail, is the only member of the family found in Europe or Asia. There are 15 genera in the family, with 60–5 species, found in Europe, Asia, and N., Central, and S. America.

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wrens

wrens
1. See TROGLODYTIDAE.

2. (Australian wrens) See MALURIDAE.

3. (New Zealand wrens) See XENICIDAE.

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Wrens

Wrens

Species of wrens

Wrens and humans

Resources

Wrens are about 60 species of small, restless perching birds in the family Troglodytidae. Species of wrens are most diverse in North America and South America, although one species, the winter wren, breeds widely in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Wrens occur in a wide range of habitats, including semi-desert, prairie, savanna, forests, and wetlands. Species of wrens breed from the boreal zone to the humid tropics.

Wrens are small, stout birds, ranging in body length from 3.9-8.7 in (10 to 22 cm). They have short, rounded wings, and long, strong legs, feet, and claws, and they hold their tail cocked upwards. Their bill is rather long, slender, pointed, and downward curved. Wrens are relatively dull colored, commonly in gray, brown, or rufous hues, patterned with white or black bars, mottles, or spots, and often a white belly. The sexes do not differ in coloration, and juveniles are similar to adults.

Wrens are active birds, often chattering and flitting about in dense undergrowth or shrubbery in search of their food of insects and other invertebrates. However, wrens are furtive animals and do not often emerge from dense cover, so that in spite of their bustling activity, they are not frequently seen. Wrens roost in concealed nest-like structures at night. During cold weather, wrens may roost together in huddled social groups.

Wrens are territorial. Males proclaim and defend their breeding territory using a rapidly phrased, melodious song. The nest may be placed in a hollow cavity, or it may be constructed as a dome-shaped structure of plant fibers and twigs, usually placed on or close to the ground. The clutch size ranges from two to 11, with larger numbers of eggs being laid by birds of temperate ecosystems, and smaller clutches by wrens breeding in tropical habitats. The female incubates the eggs, but males help with raising the brood. Some species of wrens breeding in boreal and temperate habitats are commonly polygynous, particularly in situations where the territory of the male is of high quality.

Species of wrens

Ten species of wrens breed regularly in North America.

The winter wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) breeds in moist, conifer-dominated forests, and winters in the eastern United States and western coastal forests. This species is the widest-ranging of the wrens, breeding extensively in North America, and also in Eurasia and North Africa, where it is known as the common wren. The winter wren breeds in a wide range of habitats, from boreal, conifer forests on offshore islands, to densely shrubby suburban gardens and parks.

The house wren (Troglodytes aedon) is a widespread and familiar species, breeding through much of southern Canada and extensively through the United States, except for parts of the Southeast. The house wren winters as far south as southern Mexico and the Gulf Coast of the southern states. This species will often accept a nest box located in a shrubby habitat, and in this way can be lured to breed in suburban gardens.

Bewicks wren (Thryomanes bewickii) is a relatively common breeder in the western United States and south to Mexico, and is less abundant in the eastern states.

The Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) isa relatively abundant breeding species in southern Ontario and most of the eastern United States. This species is partial to thick, brushy habitats in open forests, along forest edges, and in parks and gardens.

The marsh wren (Cistothorus palustris) breeds abundantly in its habitat of tall marshes with bul-rushes, cattails, and reeds across much of central and southern North America. This species winters in the southern United States and Central America. The sedge wren or short-billed marsh wren (Cistothorus platensis) is a less common species in its range in central-eastern North America, and breeds in shorter wet meadows and fens dominated by sedges. This species winters in coastal marshes of the southern Atlantic states and Gulf of Mexico.

The rock wren (Salpinctes obsoletus) breeds in semiarid rocky habitats through the western United States to Costa Rica in Central America.

The cactus wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) is the largest of the North American wrens, achieving a length of almost 6.7 in (17 cm). This species breeds in deserts with thorny shrubs and large cactus plants, especially saguaro, from the southwestern United States through Central America.

Wrens and humans

Some species of wrens in North America have suffered greatly from habitat losses associated with human activity. Other stressors have also been important, including the use of pesticides in agriculture, forestry, and in the shrubby parks and gardens in which some wrens breed.

The San Clemente Bewicks wren (Thryomanes bewickii leucophrys) was a resident breeder on San Clemente Island off southern California. This subspecies of the Bewicks wren became extinct through severe habitat damages that were caused by introduced populations of goats and sheep. These are generalized herbivores that essentially devoured the limited habitat of the San Clemente Bewicks wren, and that of other native local species of plants and animals.

KEY TERMS

Polygynous A breeding system in which a male will attempt to breed with as many females as possible. In birds, the female of a polygynous species usually incubates the eggs and raises the babies.

other populations of wrens have also declined in many places in North America. The leading causes of these changes are habitat losses associated with the conversion of natural ecosystems into land-uses associated with agriculture and housing, and to a lesser degree, with forestry. Pesticide use is also important in some cases.

Resources

BOOKS

Brewer, D., and B.K. MacKay. Wrens, Dippers and Thrashers. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001.

del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and J. Sargatal. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 10, Cuckoo-Shrikes to Thrushes. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, 2005.

Ehrlich, P.R., D.S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. Birds in Jeopardy. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992.

Forshaw, Joseph. Encyclopedia of Birds. 2nd ed. New York: Academic Press, 1998.

Sibley, David Allen. The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Knopf, 2000.

Bill Freedman

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Wrens

Wrens

Wrens are 63 species of small, restless perching birds in the family Troglodytidae. Species of wrens are most diverse in North America and South America , although one species, the winter wren, breeds widely in Europe , Asia , and North Africa . Wrens occur in a wide range of habitats, including semidesert, prairie , savanna , forests , and wetlands . Species of wrens breed from the boreal zone to the humid tropics.

Wrens are small, stout birds, ranging in body length from 3.9-8.7 in (10 to 22 cm). They have short, rounded wings, and long, strong legs, feet, and claws, and they hold their tail cocked upwards. Their bill is rather long, slender, pointed, and downward curved. Wrens are relatively dull colored, commonly in gray, brown, or rufous hues, patterned with white or black bars, mottles, or spots, and often a white belly. The sexes do not differ in coloration, and juveniles are similar to adults.

Wrens are active birds, often chattering and flitting about in dense undergrowth or shrubbery in search of their food of insects and other invertebrates . However, wrens are furtive animals and do not often emerge from dense cover, so that in spite of their bustling activity, they are not frequently seen. Wrens roost in concealed nestlike structures at night. During cold weather , wrens may roost together in huddled social groups.

Wrens are territorial. Males proclaim and defend their breeding territory using a rapidly phrased, melodious song. The nest may be placed in a hollow cavity, or it may be constructed as a dome-shaped structure of plant fibers and twigs, usually placed on or close to the ground. The clutch size ranges from two to 11, with larger numbers of eggs being laid by birds of temperate ecosystems, and smaller
clutches by wrens breeding in tropical habitats. The female incubates the eggs, but males help with raising the brood. Some species of wrens breeding in boreal and temperate habitats are commonly polygynous, particularly in situations where the territory of the male is of high quality.


Species of wrens

Ten species of wrens breed regularly in North America.

The winter wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) breeds in moist, conifer-dominated forests, and winters in the eastern United States and western coastal forests. This species is the widest-ranging of the wrens, breeding extensively in North America, and also in Eurasia and North Africa, where it is known as the common wren. The winter wren breeds in a wide range of habitats, from boreal, conifer forests on offshore islands, to densely shrubby suburban gardens and parks.

The house wren (Troglodytes aedon) is a widespread and familiar species, breeding through much of southern Canada and extensively through the United States, except for parts of the southeast. The house wren winters as far south as southern Mexico and the Gulf Coast of the southern states. This species will often accept a nest box located in a shrubby habitat , and in this way can be lured to breed in suburban gardens.

Bewick's wren (Thryomanes bewickii) is a relatively common breeder in the western United States and south to Mexico, and is less abundant in the eastern states.

The Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) is a relatively abundant breeding species in southern Ontario and most of the eastern United States. This species is partial to thick, brushy habitats in open forests, along forest edges, and in parks and gardens.

The long-billed marsh wren (Cistothorus palustris) breeds abundantly in its habitat of tall marshes with bulrushes, cattails , and reeds across much of central and southern North America. This species winters in the southern United States and Central America. The sedge wren or short-billed marsh wren (Cistothorus platensis) is a less common species in its range in central-eastern North America, and breeds in shorter wet meadows and fens dominated by sedges . This species winters in coastal marshes of the southern Atlantic states and Gulf of Mexico.

The rock wren (Salpinctes obsoletus) breeds in semiarid rocky habitats through the western United States to Costa Rica in Central America.

The cactus wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) is the largest of the North American wrens, achieving a length of almost 6.7 in (17 cm). This species breeds in deserts with thorny shrubs and large cactus plants, especially saguaro, from the southwestern United States through Central America.


Wrens and humans

Some species of wrens in North America have suffered greatly from habitat losses associated with human activity. Other stressors have also been important, including the use of pesticides in agriculture, forestry , and in the shrubby parks and gardens in which some wrens breed.

The San Clemente Bewick's wren (Thryomanes bewickii leucophrys) was a resident breeder on San Clemente Island off southern California. This subspecies of the Bewick's wren became extinct through severe habitat damages that were caused by introduced populations of goats and sheep . These are generalized herbivores that essentially devoured the limited habitat of the San Clemente Bewick's wren, and that of other native local species of plants and animals.

Other populations of wrens have also declined in many places in North America. The leading causes of these changes are habitat losses associated with the conversion of natural ecosystems into land-uses associated with agriculture and housing, and to a lesser degree, with forestry. Pesticide use is also important in some cases.

Resources

books

Ehrlich, P.R., D.S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. Birds in Jeopardy. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992.

Forshaw, Joseph. Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Academic Press, 1998.

Sibley, David Allen. The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Knopf, 2000.


Bill Freedman

KEY TERMS

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Polygynous

—A breeding system in which a male will attempt to breed with as many females as possible. In birds, the female of a polygynous species usually incubates the eggs and raises the babies.

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"Wrens." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 9 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Wrens." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 9, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wrens

"Wrens." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Retrieved December 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/wrens

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Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

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