Sedge Wren

Cistothorus platensis
A Sedge Wren specimen on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

Smaller even than the Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis), the Sedge Wren is most easily identified by its size (4-4 ½ inches), streaked head, and indistinct eye-stripes. Other field marks include a curved bill, short tail, and short wings. Male and female Sedge Wrens are similar to one another in all seasons. The Sedge Wren breeds across the northern Great Plains from central Canada south to Missouri and Illinois. Smaller numbers breed in the Great Lakes and east as far as New England. This species winters along the coast of the southeastern U.S. from Virginia to Texas, as well as into northern Mexico. Isolated non-migratory populations are found from southern Mexico south to southern Argentina. Sedge Wrens inhabit marshes and grasslands. In general, this species tends to live in drier parts of these habitats than the Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris), its close relative. Sedge Wrens mainly eat small invertebrates, including insects and spiders. Due to this species’ preference for heavily-vegetated habitats, the Sedge Wren is often more easily heard than seen. Male Sedge Wrens may be seen singing while perched atop vegetation. With the aid of binoculars, Sedge Wrens may be seen while partially hidden in the undergrowth, climbing stalks of grasses while foraging for food. Sedge Wrens may also be seen undertaking short flights above the grass. This species is primarily active during the day.

DC Information

Fairly common migrant and local summer resident in meadows along tidal marshes. Found in this area from early May to late September, breeding in May and June. Sexes are similar.

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalizations

Sound from xeno-canto. XC155 Cistothorus platensis (Sedge Wren)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC2008 Cistothorus platensis (Sedge Wren)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC70813 Cistothorus platensis (Sedge Wren)