|Conservation status||Declined in some areas in 19th century after introduction of House Sparrow, which competed for nest sites. Currently widespread and common, numbers probably stable.|
|Habitat||Open woods, thickets, towns, gardens. Breeds in a wide variety of semi-open habitats, including suburbs, orchards, woodlots, open forest, streamside groves, mountain pine-oak woods, and many others. Winters mostly in areas of dense low growth, including thickets and streamside brush.|
Forages very actively in dense vegetation. Forages at various levels, sometimes high in trees but usually low, searching for insects among foliage, on twigs and branches, in the bark of tree trunks, and on the ground.
6-7, sometimes 5-8, occasionally more. White, heavily dotted with reddish brown. Incubation is probably mostly or entirely by female, about 12-15 days. Young: Probably both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest about 12-18 days after hatching. 2 broods per year, rarely 3.
Probably both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest about 12-18 days after hatching. 2 broods per year, rarely 3.
Mostly insects. Feeds on a wide variety of insects, including beetles, true bugs, grasshoppers, crickets, caterpillars, moths, flies, and many others. Also eats many spiders, plus some millipedes and snails.
Male defends territory by singing. Courtship involves male singing, showing the female potential nest sites. Adults often puncture the eggs of other birds nesting nearby (including other House Wrens). Male may have more than one mate; female may leave male to care for young from first brood while she moves to another male's territory and nests again. Nest site is in any kind of cavity, including natural hollows in trees and stumps, old woodpecker holes, crevices in buildings, often in nest boxes. May nest in almost any kind of enclosed space (flowerpots, parked cars, shoes, drainpipes, etc.). Site is usually low, may be high in trees, especially in western mountains. Male builds incomplete "dummy" nests in several cavities; female chooses one and finishes nest by adding lining. Nest has a foundation of twigs, topped with softer cup of plant fibers, grass, weeds, animal hair, feathers.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Probably migrates at night. Males apparently migrate north slightly earlier in spring than females.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsA gurgling, bubbling, exuberant song, first rising, then falling.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the House Wren
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Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the House Wren
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.