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House Wren
House Wren
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Troglodytidae
Genus: Troglodytes
Vieillot, 1809
See text.

Troglodytes is a genus of small passerine birds in the wren family. The genus name (Greek troglodytai, from trogle, "a hole" and dyein, "to enter") refers to the tendency of these wrens to enter small crevices and similar as they forage for food.

These wrens are around 11-12 cm long. They are typically streaked brown above and somewhat paler below, with short rounded wings, strong legs and a cocked tail. The flight is direct and buzzing.

Troglodytes wrens are mostly found in somewhat cooler habitats than most of their relatives, being birds of temperate latitudes and tropical highlands, apart from the widely distributed lowland House Wren. The hardy Winter Wren has a wide distribution in North America, Europe and Asia and is the only wren of any genus which occurs outside the New World. The Cobb's Wren of the Falkland Islands is another species which tolerates harsh conditions well.

The other species are found in the mountains of the tropics from Mexico to northern South America.

Like other wrens, this group have skulking lifestyles as they hunt for small insects and spiders but readily reveal their positions through their loud songs.

These are territorial birds, but the tiny Winter Wren will roost communally in a cavity in cold weather to help conserve heat.


  • Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
    House Wren Troglodytes aedon
    Cobb's Wren Troglodytes cobbi
    Clarion Island Wren Troglodytes tanneri
    Rufous-browed Wren Troglodytes rufociliatus
    Ochraceous Wren Troglodytes ochraceus
    Santa Marta Wren Troglodytes monticola
    Mountain Wren Troglodytes solstitialis
    Tepui Wren Troglodytes rufulus

A number of these species, such as the Clarion Island Wren, were formerly considered subspecies of the House Wren, and it has been argued that the tropical forms of the House Wren should be further spilt as the Southern House Wren, Troglodytes mutilus.

The Winter Wren is less closely related to the other members of the genus, and is occasionally split as the montypical genus Nannus.


  • Hilty, Birds of Venezuela ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
  • ffrench, Birds of Trinidad and Tobago ISBN 0-7136-6759-1
  • Stiles and Skutch, A guide to the birds of Costa Rica ISBN 0-08-149600-4
  • National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America ISBN 0-7922-6877-6
  • Mullarney, Svensson, Zetterstrom and Grant, Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0-00-219728-6
  • Rice, Peterson and Escalona-Segura Phylogenetic patterns in montane Troglodytes wrens

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