House Wren

Troglodytes aedon
Range Map

The House Wren is the most widely distributed wren in the Americas. We can find it from Canada to South America. In North America it is migratory, except in a few locations as coastal Southern California, where it is resident. In winters, these birds find their way into the southern USA states and some travel deep into Mexico. When spring approaches, they turn their way north and spend the breeding season in the northern 3/4 of the USA and range as far north as the prairie provinces of Canada.

House Wrens nest in cavities, both natural and man-made, and are fierce competitors for nest sites. They will attack much larger birds, destroying eggs and even killing adults, to dominate desired nesting locations. Birds such as swallows, bluebirds, chickadees and others suffer nest failures because of these tiny firecrackers. In my experience, nearly every birdhouse I place on my property in Southern California will host a House Wren family, even though I get Bewick’s Wrens year-round. When spring comes, I can count on the bubbly song of the house wren at each nest box.

Science recognises at least 31 subspecies of House Wren, sometimes divided into four groups. Those four groups are:

  • Northern House Wren (lives in Canada and USA)
    • T. a. aedon breeds in southeastern Canada and eastern USA. They spend winters in the southeastern United States and Gulf of Mexico lowlands.
    • T. a. parkmanii lives in southern Canada and south to northern Baja California (Mexico) and in USA to west Texas and Kentucky. They spend winters in the southern USA from California to Texas, and south southern Mexico.
    • T. a. baldwini breeds in south-central Canada to the southern USA
    • T. a. rufescens lives in Dominica.
    • T. a. martinicensis lives in Martinique (may be extinct).
    • T. a. mesoleucus lives in St Lucia.
    • T. a. guadeloupensis lives in Lesser Antilles (may be extinct).
  • Southern House Wren (lives in Central and South America)
    • Includes T. a. peninsularis, T. a. intermedius, T. a. inquietus, T. a. carychrous, T. a. pallidipes, T. a. atopus, T. a. striatulus, T. a. columbae, T. a. effutitus, T. a. albicans, T. a. tobagensis, T. a. musculus, T. a. rex, T. a. carabayae, T. a. puna, T. a. audax, T. a. tecellatus, T. a. atacamensis, T. a. chilensis, and T. a. bonariae.
  • Brown-Throated Wren (lives in Mexico)
    • T. a. cahooni and T. a. brunneicollis
  • Cozumel Wren (lives on Cozumel Island, MX)
    • T. a. beani

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