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Winter Wren - BirdForum Opus

Photo by nikovich
Beauval, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 2008
Troglodytes hiemalis


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

  • Mostly brown, in most populations with a reddish tint
  • Small tail (often cocked)
  • Pale buff underside (some populations almost as dark as the back)
  • Prominent pale supercilium
  • Bill slightly down curved


Breeds in eastern North America from southern Canada to the southern US.



Two subspecies have been described:

Has been considered conspecific with Eurasian Wren and Pacific Wren in the past.

Rice et al in 1999 proposed placing this species in its own 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.


Call: Hard, dry chit or chiti
Song: Loud (especially given its size) warbling. Can last up to ten seconds.


  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, JF. 2010. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2010. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/Clements%206.5.xls/view
  1. 51st supplement to the AOU checklist of North American birds

Recommended Citation

External Links

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