is the name of a group of small, energetic birds found in most parts of the world. These
birds are extremely protective of their nests. Some wrens are known to enter nearby nests
of other birds and pierce the eggs. Wrens eat insects and seeds that they find in
underbrush and tangled root growths. They sing melodiously, but can also make harsh,
chattering sounds. There are 63 types of wrens, most of which live in Asia and the
Americas. Only one kind lives in Europe.
A wren has a slender bill and rounded wings. Most wrens are
brown and may be striped, spotted, or streaked with black or white. Wrens have short tails
that they often hold upward.
The house wren, commonly known as the jenny wren, is the most familiar wren in North
America. It is about 5 inches (13 centimeters) long. It often lives in cities, where many
people build birdhouses for it. Gardeners value the house wren because it eats insects.
The female house wren lays six to eight eggs a year. The eggs are white and speckled with
The largest wren in North America is the cactus wren, which grows to 81/2 inches (22
centimeters) long. This wren lives in dry regions of the Southwestern United States and
northern Mexico. Its back, wings, and tail are heavily streaked, and it has a broad stripe
over each eye. The rock wren lives in the western section of the United States. It builds
its nest under rocks in the dry foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Most rock wrens are
gray-brown with cinnamon coloring near the tail. The Carolina wren lives in the southern
part of the United States. Its back is rust-brown, and its belly is dull yellow. Most
Carolina wrens nest around farm buildings.
Other wrens common in the United States are the Bewick's wren, winter wren, marsh wren,
and sedge wren. The Bewick's wren lives near people's homes. It has a white-edged tail and
white stripes over its eyes. The winter wren nests in the Northern United States and in
Canada. Its songs echo through evergreen forests in these regions. The marsh wren nests in
cattail marshes. The sedge wren prefers grassy marshes and meadows. The marsh wren, which
is more common, has a gurgling song. The sedge wren's song is like the sound made by
striking two pebbles together rapidly.
Scientific classification. Wrens are in the wren family, Troglodytidae. The house wren is
Troglodytes aedon, and the cactus wren is Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus.