At a Glance
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.
All bird guide text and rangemaps adapted from Lives of North American Birds by Kenn Kaufman© 1996, used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Arroyos and Canyons, Forests and Woodlands, High Mountains, Shrublands, Savannas, and Thickets
Direct Flight, Flitter, Rapid Wingbeats
Range & Identification
Migration & Range Maps
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.
4-4 1/2" (10-11cm). Small, stub-tailed, and dark. Suggests a House Wren but has a shorter tail, stronger dark barring on flanks, different voice. Very similar to Winter Wren but usually richer golden brown on chest, and has subtly different callnote.
About the size of a Robin, About the size of a Sparrow
Songs and Calls
A high-pitched, varied, and rapid series of musical trills and chatters; call note an explosive kit! or kit-kit!
Complex, Flat, Undulating
Buzz, Chirp/Chip, Flute, Hi, Trill, Whistle
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.
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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.
Usually forages very low among dense vegetation, searching for insects among foliage, on twigs and trunks, and on ground.
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.
Still common and widespread, although habitat destruction in the northwest could cause declines. Some island populations in Alaska may be vulnerable.
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect the range of the Pacific Wren. Learn even more in our Audubon’s Survival By Degrees project.
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.