The wren is a small to medium sized bird, known for its loud calls and beautiful songs that are often quite pleasant to the human ear. While hard to spot, being very small and, in fact, the smallest bird in England, one can recognize them from their short wings and upright tails.
Despite sharing the name wren, the New Zealand and Australian wrens are not related to this species.
List of the Common Types of Wren Species
There are around 88 species of wren worldwide, most of them being the New World birds, with the Eurasian wren being the only Old World species.
Of the smallest wrens, the white-bellied wren is one of them, with a size of 3.9 in and 0.32 oz, while the giant wren is one of the largest at 8.7 in and 1.8 oz.
Body and Coloration: Almost all species of wrens have long downward curing bills and short upright tails. The coloration of the birds tends to be a bit drab, with brown, black, gray, and white being the most common colors. There is no sexual dimorphism observed, and the juveniles are not much different from the adult wrens.
Most wrens are found primarily in the Americas, from Alaska and Canada in North America to southern Argentina in South America. The Eurasian wren is the only one not residing there at all, occupying parts of Asia, northern Africa, and Europe.
Where do they live
The various species occur in diverse habitats, ranging from canyons, deserts, forests, meadows, rainforests, wetlands, and woodlands. They have also adapted to urban environments and are commonly seen in backyards, parks, and farms.
How long do they live
Wrens generally live for 5-7 years.
What do they eat
Insectivorous in nature, they primarily eat beetles, bugs, and caterpillars. Their diet includes spiders, mealworms, berries, peanuts, suet, and sunflowers. They are more likely to consume seeds during the winter. Some of them have interesting diets, such as the Eurasian wren, who sometimes go fishing for tadpoles and small fish in shallow water, while the Zapata wren eats snails.
While the various species of wrens show a wide variety of behaviors, most of them are known for singing from perches on trees in open environments. These are powerful sounds used by the birds to either ward off intruders or protect their young.
Some wrens have been seen destroying eggs and nestlings of other birds (even other wrens), possibly to reduce competition for food.
Most of these birds live in pairs, though some are found in flocks of 20.
While wrens tend to be fiercely territorial, especially during mating season, several of them will roost together to keep warm in winter.
Wrens living in the temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere sometimes migrate to the south in winter.
These birds are known for their energy, quickly moving about close to the ground.
As small birds, wrens are often preyed upon by cats, foxes, rats, opossums, owls, raccoons, squirrels, snakes, and woodpeckers.
They have tiny beaks that help them eat insects by allowing them to hold on to them easily.
As a result of its small size and tiny wings, it can easily manoeuvre itself, even in tight spaces.
Their drab feathers act as perfect camouflage against predators and for locating prey.
How do they reproduce
While the Carolina wren is monogamous, with a pair mating for life, most other wrens tend to be polygamous, sometimes males mating with up to four females in their territory.
A single brood contains 5-8 small speckled eggs laid late April. Often second broods are raised in the dome-shaped nests made of feathers, grass clippings, moss, and small twigs. The standard incubation period is between 13 and 18 days while fledging takes 15 to 20 days.
According to the IUCN, most species are listed as “Least Concern” or “LC”, but some like the Yucatan wren and the Socorro wren are “Near Threatened” or “NT”.
Wren – FAQs
1. Do baby wrens come back to the nest?
No, once the juveniles learn to fly, they leave the nest for good.
2. Do wrens abandon their nests?
Yes, sometimes, if predators attack the nests.
3. How fast do wrens fly?
Wrens fly at around 22 mph and can fly between 15-28 mph.
26th December is celebrated as Wren Day in parts of Ireland, as a part of St. Stephan’s Day. This involves a fake wren being placed on a decorative pole and paraded around town. Up until the 20th century, real wrens used to be hunted for this purpose, possibly as revenge for the betrayal of St. Stephen by a noisy wren while he was trying to escape his persecutors.
The Eurasian wren is considered the “king of all birds” in Europe,where hurting a wren in any way is believed to bring bad luck.
In the state of South Carolina, the Carolina wren is the state bird, featuring on its state quarter. It also featured on the British farthing until its discontinuation in 1960.