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Cactus Wren - BirdForum Opus

Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus
Photo by digishooter
Kelso Valley, Kern County, California, USA


L. 7-8 1/4 in (18-21 cm)

  • Starling sized wren
  • Spotted underparts
  • White eyebrows
  • Rusty crown
  • White spots on outer tail feathers


Photo by jayceeaz
Arizona, May 2006

Resident from southern California, southern Nevada, Utah, and western Texas southward to Mexico.


Display – Throat and body feathers ruffle when singing
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Uvalde, Texas, USA, 17 April 2021


There are 8 subspecies:

  • C. b. anthonyi (couesi):
  • Arid south-western US to northern Baja, north-western Mexico and extreme northern Tamaulipas
  • C. b. brunneicapillus sandiegensis:
  • Arid San Diego County (southern California) and adjacent north-western Baja
  • C. b. brunneicapillus bryanti:
  • C. b. purus:
  • C. b. seri:
  • Isla Tiburón (Sea of Cortés)
  • C. b. affinis:
  • C. b. brunneicapillus:
  • North-western Mexico (central Sonora to northern Sinaloa)
  • C. b.s guttatus:


Arid and semi arid desert.



The diet includes ants, beetles, grasshoppers, wasps, seeds and fruits.


Both sexes build a football-shaped nest of dry grasses lined with feathers, with a small side entrance, placed in cactus plants. The clutch consists of 4-5 buff, speckled brown, eggs which are incubated by the female for 16 days. The male continues to build more nests for roosting and nesting sites. Both parents care for the young, who fledge in 19-23 days.


Rapid, mechanical chug-chug-chug-chug-chug.

In Culture

State Bird of Arizona.


  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. blueplanetbiomes

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.