Carolina Wren

Thryothorus ludovicianus
Range Map

Looking much like the slightly smaller, longer tailed Bewick’s Wren, but with a richer redness in their brown tones, the Carolina Wren has a range extending across most of the eastern USA, while the Bewick’s Wren is a western bird. Both birds share an inquisitive demeanor. This bird has a loud song, much louder than the Bewick’s Wrens I’m more familiar with. I found its piercing notes carried so well, a bird 100 feet away seemed only a few yards from me.

Science recognises ten subspecies of this bird. All members look and sound similar, and because most of them are nonmigratory, perhaps the best way to determine race is by the territory they inhabit, though their ranges may overlap:

  • T. l. ludovicianus lives in southeastern Canada and eastern USA.
  • T. l. miamensis lives in Florida.
  • T. l. nesophilus lives in islands off north western Florida.
  • T. l. burleighi lives on islands off the Mississippi coast.
  • T. l. lomitensis lives in Texas and northeastern Mexico.
  • T. l. berlandieri lives on barrier islands in the Gulf of Mexico off Mississippi.
  • T. l. tropicalis lives in northeastern Mexico.
  • T. l. albinucha lives on the Yucatán Peninsula and south to northern Central America.
  • T. l. petenicus lives in southern Mexico to northern Central America.
  • T. l. subfulvus lives from northern to middle Central America.

Though the females can (and will) sing, only the slightly larger males sing to defend territorial boundaries. Pair-bonds last for years, and often for life. Carolina Wrens are adaptable to many habitats, including oak and mixed oak woodlands, riparian woods, mixed and tangled undergrowth, swamps, farmlands and suburban areas. Cold climates do not suit these birds, but they will expand their range north following mild winters. The past century has seen a significant expansion northward.

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