Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)

(10 cm.) Tiny; tail held erect; faint eye-line; uniformly brown; dark bars on belly.

The Winter Wren is a tiny nomad of a bird. It is the only member of its family, “Troglodytinae,” to be found outside of the Americas. This bird, also called the Eurasian Wren, is often simply referred to as “the wren” because it is the only species of its kind found in Eurasia. It was also the first species of its family known to science, and to be given the name, “wren.” Fifty-nine other species of wren can be found throughout the Americas from Canada down to Argentina.

The family’s name, “Troglodytinae,” means cave-dweller, a reference to all wrens’
tendency to disappear in dense vegetation near the ground. All wrens are various shades of brown and all of them hold their tails in an erect, upright position. They are all insectivores that possess often beautiful and complex songs.

The Winter Wren is one of the smallest birds within its range throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Its tiny size is one of the keys to its identification, especially in Europe and Asia where it is the only tiny brown bird that cocks its stubby tail in the typical wren fashion.

In China, the Winter Wren breeds in its year-round range in the northeast and northwest corners of the country. It is also a resident of the central portion of the country and Taiwan. In winter, it can be found along the East Coast of the country from Dalian all the way down the coast to Hong Kong.

The Winter Wren is blessed with one of the most impressive songs in the bird world. It is also one of the loudest songs for a bird so tiny. The song consists of rising and falling melodious notes and trills of very clear tone, and lasts for up to half a minute. Following another half-minutes’ rest, the song starts again. Once heard, the song of this bird is never forgotten. This amazing song, although most often heard in spring, can be heard year-round.

The Winter Wren prefers coniferous forests as habitat, and in the summer breeding season, the male builds several round nests of grass, leaves, or moss, allowing the female to choose her favorite. Winter Wrens are polygamous, and a male wren may have several families during one breeding season.

The Winter Wren feeds on spiders and insects, including many that hide in crevices during winter months. This bird’s ability to find insect life in the depths of winter allows it to be a non-migratory bird throughout much of its range

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