Pacific Wren

Troglodytes pacificus
Range Map

Until 2010, Pacific Wrens were believed to be the same species as Winter Wrens. Then researchers learned that the wrens in the west were different from those in the east, and from the birds in Europe. The Winter Wren was then split into three different species; the Pacific Wren lives in western North America, the Winter Wren lives in eastern North America, and the Eurasian Wren lives in Europe.

Much like Marsh Wrens, male Pacific Wrens will build several nests in their chosen territory. When the females arrive, the boys will then lead the girls around to each nest until she chooses which nest to use.

These birds, along with their recently separated cousins, choose homes in some of the most densely overgrown thickets and moist understory imaginable. My first meeting with this species came in the spring of 2022 while driving the length of the Pacific Coast and I stopped in northern California. I caught only brief glimpses in that meeting and never managed to capture a single image as it sang its bubbly song from hidden places. Fortunately, as I continued north along the coast, I met several birds who were more cooperative.

Today’s taxonomists recognise 13 subspecies of Pacific Wren in two groups.

The Alaskan Group

  • T. p. alascensis lives on the Pribilof Islands.
  • T. p. meligerus lives on the western Aleutian Islands, from Attu to Buldir.
  • T. p. kiskensis lives on the western Aleutian Islands of Kiska, Little Kiska, Amchitka, Ogliuga.
  • T. p. tanagensis lives on the Central Aleutian Islands of Tanaga, Adak, and Atka.
  • T. p. seguamensis lives on the Central Aleutian Islands of Seguam, Amutka and Yunaska.
  • T. p. stevensoni lives on the western Alaska Peninsula and nearby islands.
  • T. p. petrophilus lives on the eastern Aleutian Islands of Unalaska, Amaknak and Akutan.
  • T. p. semidiensis lives on Semidi Island, off the southern Alaska Peninsula.

The Pacific Group

  • T. p. helleri lives on Kodiak Island and Afognak Island, off southern Alaska.
  • T. p. pacificus lives from southeastern Alaska, south through the Queen Charlotte Islands and mainland British Columbia into California and east Idaho and northwestern Wyoming.
  • T. p. muiri lives in coastal northern California.
  • T. p. obscurior lives in coastal central California.
  • T. p. salebrosus lives in southern British Columbia, east of the coast ranges, to southwestern Alberta, northeastern Washington, and southeastern Oregon.

16 Photos

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