Conservation status Still common and widespread, although habitat destruction in the northwest could cause declines. Some island populations in Alaska may be vulnerable.
Family Wrens
Habitat Dense coniferous forests, also more open habitats on Alaskan islands, woodlands and brush in winter in the southwest. Breeds most commonly in moist coniferous forest with an understory of dense thickets in the Pacific northwest. In winter, some are found in dense low growth in woods, especially along streambanks or among tangles, brushpiles, and fallen logs. Populations on the Aleutian and Pribilof islands in Alaska may live in more open habitats.
A secretive gnome of western forests, often creeping about near the ground under dense tangles, most easily located by its sharp kep-kep callnotes and its ringing, tinkling song. Until recently, was considered to belong to the same species as the Winter Wren of eastern North America and the widespread Eurasian Wren of the Old World.

Feeding Behavior

Usually forages very low among dense vegetation, searching for insects among foliage, on twigs and trunks, and on ground.


5-6, sometimes 4-7. White, with reddish brown dots often concentrated toward larger end. Incubation is by female, about 14-17 days. Young: Probably both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest about 16-18 days after hatching.


Probably both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest about 16-18 days after hatching.


Mostly insects. Feeds on a wide variety of insects, including many beetles, caterpillars, true bugs, flies, and many others. Also eats many spiders, plus some millipedes and snails. Also sometimes eats berries.


Male sings in spring to defend territory and attract a mate. In courtship, male perches near female, with wings half-opened and fluttering, tail moving from side to side, while he sings or calls. Nest site is in any kind of natural cavity close to the ground (lower than about 6'), including holes among upturned roots of downed trees, cavities in rotten stumps, old woodpecker holes, crevices among rocks. Within cavity, both sexes help build nest of grass, weeds, moss, rootlets, lined with animal hair and feathers. Male may also build several unlined "dummy" nests.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

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A permanent resident in most of its range, north to the coast and islands of Alaska. Populations from interior regions of western Canada and the northern Rockies move south for the winter, with a few reaching the southwest. Migration is relatively early in spring and late in fall.

  • 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.

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Songs and Calls

A high-pitched, varied, and rapid series of musical trills and chatters; call note an explosive kit! or kit-kit!
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Pacific Wren

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.

Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.

Climate Threats Near You

Climate threats facing the Pacific 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.