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Pacific Wren - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by fuzzhead
Richland, WA, USA, 30 November 2009
Troglodytes pacificus


Length is 9-10 cm (3.5 - 4 inches)

  • Mostly brown, in most populations with a reddish tint
  • Small tail (often cocked)
  • Dark rufous-brown upperparts
  • Pale buff underside
  • Rufous-brown throat
  • Prominent pale supercilium
  • Small bill slightly down curved

Similar Species

Winter Wren is less reddish and paler especially ln the throat but more well marked on flanks and wings.


Breeds from coastal Alaska to California.


Was formerly considered conspecific with Winter Wren and Eurasian Wren.


13 subspecies have been described in two groups:
Alaskan islands

  • T. p. alascensis: Pribilof Islands (St. George, St. Paul and Otter)
  • T. p. meligerus: Western Aleutians (Attu, Agattu, Alaid, Nitzi and Buldir)
  • T. p. kiskensis: Western Aleutians (Kiska, Little Kiska, Amchitka, Ogliuga)
  • T. p. tanagensis: Central Aleutians (Tanaga, Adak and Atka))
  • T. p. seguamensis: Central Aleutians (Seguam, Amutka and Yunaska)
  • T. p. stevensoni: Western Alaska Peninsula, Amak and Amagat islands
  • T. p. petrophilus: Eastern Aleutians (Unalaska, Amaknak and Akutan)
  • T. p. semidiensis: South-eastern Alaska (Semidi Islands)


  • T. p. helleri: Southern Alaska (Kodiak, Afognak and Raspberry islands)
  • T. p. pacificus: Coastal south-western Alaska to California
  • T. p. muiri: Coastal northern California (south to Marin County)
  • T. p. obscurior: Coastal central [[California (San Francisco to San Luis Obispo Co.)
  • T. p. salebrosus: Interior British Columbia to western Montana and eastern Oregon

Rice et al in 1999 proposed placing this species in the genus, Nannus2. Later molecular studies support this classification, because the closest relative of Winter Wren are not other members of the genus Troglodytes but the Marsh and Sedge Wrens3.


Can be found in almost any habitat, low down in undergrowth from gardens and woodland to clifftops.


Tends to keep low when flying.


Forages under dense cover for small insects and spiders


The nest is a ball of grass, leaves or other vegetation and may be placed in a bank hole, in thick vegetation or tucked under overhang. The clutch consists of 5-8 white eggs with brownish-red speckles. They are incubated for about 2 weeks and fledge around 16 or 17 days later. There are usually 2 broods in the season which runs from April to August.


Song is extremely complex with tinkling hurried staccato notes. Less musical than song of Winter Wren. Call note is a hard "check-check" recalling Wilson's Warbler. Winter Wren's call is lower and flatter, recalling Song Sparrow


  1. Toews DP, Irwin DE 2008. Mol Ecol. Jun;17(11):2691-705
  2. Rice et al 1999 Condor 101:446-451
  3. Thread in Birdforum Taxonomy forum and references therein.
  4. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  5. 51st supplement to the AOU checklist of North American birds
  6. Toews, D. P. L. and D. E. Irwin (2020). Pacific Wren (Troglodytes pacificus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.pacwre1.01
  7. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2019. Pacific_Wren in: All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/ Accessed on 28May 2020

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1