House Wren

Troglodytes aedon
A House Wren specimen on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

A small (4 ½ -5 inches) wren, the House Wren is most easily identified by its plain tan-brown back, tan breast, short tail (often held up at an angle), curved bill, and faint white eye-stripes. This species may be distinguished from the similar Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) by that species’ larger size and redder plumage and from Bewick’s Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) by that species’ larger size and brighter eye-stripes. Male and female House Wrens are similar to one another in all seasons. The House Wren breeds in southern Canada and the northern half of the United States, with other breeding populations occurring from southern Mexico and the West Indies to southern South America. In winter, populations breeding in North America winter in the southern half of the United States and northern Mexico. By contrast, tropical and South American House Wren populations are non-migratory. House Wrens inhabit a variety of semi-open habitats, including bushy fields, woodland edges, and scrub. This species has also adapted to life in well-vegetated urban and suburban areas, and its habit of nesting in artificial nest-boxes, also known as “bird houses,” has become part of this species’ English-language common name. House Wrens exclusively eat small insects. In appropriate habitat, House Wrens may be seen foraging for food on the ground or in the branches of bushes and shrubs. Birdwatchers may also listen for this species’ song, a rapid series of warbled notes. House Wrens are most active during the day.

DC Information

Common summer resident, from early April to mid-October, found in wood margins, hedgerows, abandoned fields, and residential areas. Breeds from early May to early September. Sexes are similar.

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalizations

Sound from xeno-canto. XC54013 Troglodytes aedon (House Wren)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC54014 Troglodytes aedon (House Wren)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC54015 Troglodytes aedon (House Wren)