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Carolina Wren


Common Name: Carolina Wren

Scientific Name: Thryothorus ludovicianus

Order: Passeriformes

Family: Troglodytidae

Photo by Dan Pancamo from


Diagnosis: 14 cm from tip of bill to tip of tail. White supercilium (eyebrow stripe), rust brown back, tail, wings, and top of head. Slim, slightly decurved bill, dark upper bill, slightly lighter lower bill. Tail is generally held at a steep vertical angle, and is barred with black. Breast is buff to white in color, darkening below. Has characteristic "tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle" song, though some call it "cheever, cheever, cheever".

Picture painted by Roger T. Peterson from

Roger Peterson painted pictures for his field guide rather than using photos because photos may have unusual illuminations, or key characteristics may not be visible. By using paintings he could place the bird in the ideal position.


Natural History: The Carolina Wrens are non-migratory and have one mate (monogamous). They are cavity nesters that can nest three times in one breeding season with 3 to 7 eggs per nest. Dead leaves, snake skin, hair, straw, and feathers are commonly found in Carolina Wren nests.

Distribution: Common



Habitat: These birds tend to stick around tangles of undergrowth, and occasionally around gardens. They prefer heavily vegetated areas.

Diet: Carolina Wrens often feed in pairs, and usually eat insects on the ground.

Conservation Status: LC (Least Concern)

Video: Carolina Wren sings its birdsong in Clark County, Ohio


Links: All About Birds (



Jackson, Allyson K. et al. 2011 Mercury Exposure Affects the Reproductive Success of a Free-Living Terrestrial Songbird, the Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus). The Auk, 128(4):759-769.

D'Orazio, Kelly A., Neudorf, Diane L. H. 2008. Nest Defense by Carolina Wrens. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 120(3):467-472.

Peterson, Roger T. 2009. Peterson Field Guide to Birds: of North America. Houghton Mifflin Co.


Submitted By: Justin A. Sullivan, July 28th 2012

Wichita State University
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