Sedge Wren

Cistothorus platensis
Range Map

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 habitats, and it took me a few moments to piece together their identity. I could only capture a few shots of these elusive birds.

Most birds who love life close to ground-level, as these birds do, do not migrate far. The Sedge Wren makes its own rules, and breeds north as far as central Canada, while spending winters in the eastern USA and northeastern Mexico.

Whether on their breeding territories, or winter homes, Sedge Wrens seek dense tall growths of sedges and grasses in wet meadows, hayfields, fallow croplands, ponds, marsh margins, and bogs. They usually avoid open vegetative cover, and wetlands dominated by cattails. They leave the cattails and bulrushes to their cousins, the Marsh Wrens.

There was a time when we called these birds the Short-Billed Marsh Wren, but that provided too much confusion with its cousin, the Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris). Not long ago, we placed the Sedge Wren in with the Grass Wrens (Cistothorus platensis), which live in Mexico, Central, and South America. More recent research in 2014 has shown they deserve status as their own separate species, and in 2021 it was separated from the Grass Wren and it was given full species status.

Today science recognises no subspecies of Sedge Wren (i.e. they are monotypic).

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