|Conservation status||Widespread and common, numbers probably stable. Most of nesting habitat is little affected by human activities.|
|Habitat||Rocky slopes, canyons. Breeds in a variety of rocky places. Found at elevations from low canyons to high in mountains, wherever surroundings are very open and arid, but scarce in hot desert regions in summer. Winters in rocky places at low elevations; sometimes on rock levees or on stone riprap below dams, especially when it wanders east. In the absence of rocks it may establish winter territory around stacks of hay bales, pieces of farm equipment, or other landmarks.|
Forages on the ground in dry places, and on steep dirt banks and rocky cliffs with many cracks and openings. Uses long bill to probe in crevices among rocks. Sometimes forages among tangles of low vegetation, or low on trunks of trees.
5-6, sometimes 4-8. White, lightly dotted with reddish brown. Incubation is probably by female, incubation period not well known. Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Age at which young leave the nest is not well known.
Both parents feed nestlings. Age at which young leave the nest is not well known.
Mostly insects and spiders. Diet is not well known. Probably feeds mostly on insects, including beetles, ants, grasshoppers, and many others, also spiders and probably other arthropods.
Nesting behavior is not well known. Male sings to defend nesting territory. Nest site is usually in crevice among boulders, in hole in dirt bank, under a rock ledge, in crevice in stone building, or similarly sheltered site; rarely in low tree cavity. Nest (probably built by both sexes) is cup of grass, weeds, bark strips, twigs, rootlets, lined with finer materials such as animal hair, spiderwebs, feathers. Often marked by "paving" of small stones, sometimes with bones and other debris, laid out on ground in front of the entrance to the cranny where the nest is located.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Strongly migratory, departing from northern part of range for the winter. Strays sometimes wander east in fall, and have even reached the Atlantic Coast.
- 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.Learn more
Songs and CallsA dry trill; a rhythmic series of musical notes; chewee, chewee, chewee, chewee.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Rock 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 facing the Rock 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.