Bird GuideWrensBewick's Wren

At a Glance

In dry thickets and open woods of the west, this is often a very common bird. Pairs of Bewick's Wrens (pronounced like 'Buick') clamber about actively in the brush, exploring tangles and bark crevices, waving their long tails about, giving harsh scolding notes at any provocation. In the east, this species is far less common, and it has vanished from most of its former range east of the Mississippi River.
Perching Birds, Wrens
Low Concern
Arroyos and Canyons, Desert and Arid Habitats, Fields, Meadows, and Grasslands, Forests and Woodlands, Shrublands, Savannas, and Thickets, Urban and Suburban Habitats
California, Eastern Canada, Great Lakes, Mid Atlantic, Northwest, Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Southwest, Texas, Western Canada
Direct Flight, Flitter

Range & Identification

Migration & Range Maps

Some are present all year in most parts of breeding range, but many depart from northern areas and higher elevations in winter; may be more migratory in east than in west.


5 1/2" (14 cm). White eyebrow; longish tail, often flipped about. Dull brown on back, pale gray below. Eastern birds are somewhat more richly colored, can suggest Carolina Wren, but note white corners of tail, paler underparts.
About the size of a Robin, About the size of a Sparrow
Black, Brown, Gray, White
Wing Shape
Tail Shape
Long, Rounded

Songs and Calls

Loud, melodious song with the usual bubbly wren-like warble, also reminiscent of a Song Sparrow.
Call Pattern
Falling, Flat, Undulating
Call Type
Buzz, Chirp/Chip, Flute, Trill, Whistle


Thickets, underbrush, gardens. In the west, found in many brushy or wooded habitats at lower elevations, including undergrowth in woods of oak and pine, streamside groves, chaparral, desert washes, suburban areas. In the east (where now scarce), mostly in brushy areas around the edges of woods.



5-7, sometimes 4-11. White, with brown and gray blotches often concentrated at larger end. Incubation is probably by female only, about 14 days.


Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest about 2 weeks after hatching.

Feeding Behavior

Forages very actively by climbing and hopping about on trunks, branches, and twigs of trees, probing into bark crevices or gleaning insects from the surface. Also feeds on the ground, flipping over leaves and probing among leaf litter.


Mostly insects. Feeds on a wide variety of insects, including beetles, ants, wasps, true bugs, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and many others. Also eats many spiders, and occasionally some berries or seeds.


Male defends nesting territory by singing; songs of eastern birds quite different from those of the west. Adults sometimes puncture eggs of other birds nesting nearby. Nest site is in any kind of cavity, including natural hollows in trees, old woodpecker holes; also in manmade sites, including nest boxes, holes in buildings, mailboxes, tin cans, and many others. Site is usually less than 20' above the ground. Male may build incomplete "dummy" nests; female probably chooses site and completes one nest for raising young. Nest has a foundation of twigs, leaves, bark strips, and trash, topped with a softer cup of moss, leaves, animal hair, feathers. Sometimes adds bits of snakeskin to nest.

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status

In the west, widespread and common, expanding range northward in some areas. East of the Great Plains it is uncommon, localized, and declining. Formerly a common nesting bird east to the Appalachians, it has completely disappeared from most areas east of the Mississippi River during the last few decades. The reasons for this vanishing act are poorly understood.

Climate Map

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect the range of the Bewick's Wren. Learn even more in our Audubon’s Survival By Degrees project.

Climate Threats Facing the Bewick's 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.

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