Sedge Wren

Cistothorus platensis

Before my 2021 tour of Texas, I’d never met a Sedge Wren. I was at Aransas NWR northeast of Corpus Christi hoping to see Whooping Cranes when I noticed small wrens flitting through the marshland scrub and brush. These were unlike the Marsh Wrens I’ve seen in similar habitat, and it took me a few moments to piece together their identity. I could only capture a few shots of these elusive birds.

There are members of this species across the North and South American continents. Those found in southern Mexico and south to Tierra del Fuego (South America) are nonmigratory, but those found between northern Mexico and Canada make the annual pilgrimage from their winter homes in northern Mexico and southeastern USA, to breed in USA’s upper mid-west and southern Canada.

Today science recognises 18 subspecies of Sedge Wren, in three groups:

  • Sedge Wren, or Stellaris Group
    • Nine subspecies; C. p. stellaris, C. p. tinnulus, C. p. elegans, C. p. lucidus, C. p. potosinus, C. p. jalapensis, C. p. russelli, and C. p. graberi.
    • Lives in North America, Mexico, Central America, and South America.
  • Western Grass-Wren, or Platensis Group
    • Six subspecies; C. p. aequatorialis, C. p. graminicola, C. p. tucumanus, C. p. platensis, C. p. hornensis, and C. p. falklandicus.
    • Lives in South America from the northwest, south to Tierra del Fuego, and the Falkland Islands.
  • Eastern Grass-Wren, or Polyglottus Group
    • Three subspecies; C. p. polyglottus, C. p. alticola, and C. p. minimus.
    • Lives locally from Colombia, Peru and Venezuela, south through Bolivia and Brasil, Paraguay and Argentina.

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