Pacific WrenTroglodytes pacificus

adult
Mike Yip
adult
Glenn Bartley/VIREO
adult
Mike Yip
Pacific Wren

Family

Description

4-4 1/2" (10-11cm). A tiny, dark brown bird with a very short tail, narrow pale eyebrow, and heavily banded flanks and belly. Throat area similar in color to breast and belly, often more rufous than Winter Wren. See Winter Wren and House Wren.

Voice

A high-pitched, varied, and rapid series of musical trills and chatters; call note an explosive kit! or kit-kit!

Listen

song (western)

Habitat

Dense tangles and thickets in coniferous and mixed forests.

Range

Breeds from Aleutian Islands and Alaska south along the Pacific coast of North America to central California, inland to Alberta, Utah, Idaho and Arizona. Many populations are year-round residents throughout much of the breeding range. Migratory birds winter in inland Oregon and Washington, and on the southern California coast. Care is needed in Alberta and throughout the Rocky Mountain region due to ranges close to those of the very similar Pacific Wren. Vagrants of either species are possible in the Rockies.

Discussion

This wren moves like a mouse, creeping through the low, dense tangle of branches covering the forest floor. Its nest is among the hardest to find; even when an observer has narrowed the search to a few square feet, he must sometimes give up, so cleverly is the nest concealed. The Pacific Wren's song, when recorded and played back at half- or quarter-speed, reveals a remarkable blend of halftones and overtones all sung at the same time. The Pacific Wren is a newly recognized species, arising from the split of the Winter Wren into three species, two of which (Winter Wren and Pacific Wren) occur in our range. The third species (Eurasian Wren) is a common bird with a wide range in Europe and Asia, but would be an extremely rare vagrant anywhere in North America.

Nesting

5-7 brown-speckled white eggs in a bulky mass of twigs and moss, with an entrance on the side, lined

Similar Species

adult, Western

House Wren

4 1/2 -5 1/4" (11-13 cm). A tiny bird with a short tail, often held cocked over the back. Dusky brown above, paler below, with no distinctive markings.

adult

Winter Wren

4-4 1/2" (10-11cm). A tiny, dark brown bird with a very short tail, narrow pale eyebrow, and heavily banded flanks and belly. See Pacific Wren and House Wren.

Vireo

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