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House Wren Troglodytes aedon

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Troglodytidae
  • Polytypic: 32 subspecies
  • Authors needed...

Looking at the distribution of the House Wren it is easily one of the most widely distributed of all New World songbirds. However, the truth is certainly much more complex. In the past this species has been separated into three groups, with the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico being a division line between two of these, the southern and northern House Wrens. There has not been a modern genetic study of this species, but surely the reality of how many species level units are in the House Wren complex will be much more complicated. In North America we are learning that various wren taxa that are visually quite similar but which differ in their songs, and in particular their song repertoire sizes and complexities, appear to be good biological species. This suggests that rather than a north and south general separation, there are various much more restricted species within the House Wren. Island forms alone account for a moderate amount of diversity, with several rather different looking and sounding types in the Lesser Antilles, and one different type on the Falkland Islands! In general though, House Wrens are similar in behavior. They are highly vocal, energetic inhabitants of disturbed habitats, towns, forest edge, dry forest and shrubby thickets. They make a bulky domed nest usually within a cavity, crag, or hidden space and males may make several “dummy nests” and allow females to choose the one they will actually lay eggs into. Their songs are loud and warbled, with various nasal and scolding call notes given when they are upset.

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© Wil Hershberger

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: