Species: Marsh Wren
The reedy, gurgling sounds of the Marsh Wren can be heard throughout
much of North America’s cattail and bulrush marshes. It is
more often heard than seen.
It has a year round range in the western U.S. and southern B.C. and
a breeding range in the northern United States and southern Canadian
provinces. It winters in the southern U.S. and Mexico.
A small and stocky wren with a long bill. Dull black crown and
white superciliary stripe. Upper back has a black triangular
area striped with white. The remainder of the upper parts and
wings are rusty brown with faint black bars on the wings. The
tail is rusty with black bars. The chin and throat are whitish
and the belly and flanks are a buff colour. Length: 13cm.
Weight: 9.0-14.0 g.
Males are considerably larger than females. Sexes are
Sexes are monochromatic.
Similar to adult, but
lacks streaking on the back and the eyestripe is idistinct.
Sedge Wren is smaller with a shorter bill. Unlike the Marsh
Wren it has a streaked crown, pale supercillium and a boldly
streaked back. Its wings are barred.
In the marsh, this wren's flight is short with quick wing beats
giving the appearance of fluttering rapidly into the reeds. At
times they cling to cattails moving up and down or straddling the
reeds while vocalizing.
Marsh Wren feed on invertebrates especially insects, including
aquatic insects as well as spiders. They glean prey from
plants and just below water.
This wren also has a large repertoire and complex singing
Is restricted to freshwater and saltwater marshes in its North
American range that can be unpredictable both geographically and
The Marsh Wren is polygynous where the male may mate with more than
one female. The male can build multiple nests and has a habit
of destroying eggs and nests of its own and other species. The
nests are a domed structure within which 4-6 eggs are laid.
The eggs are dull brown and marked with darker brown spots.
Currently listed as Least Concern, the Marsh Wren is decreasing in
the eastern portion of its range, however is increasing in the west.
Although Marsh Wren can be a year-round resident, capture
rates (2010-2012; standardized as birds captured per 100 net
hours) reflect increased activity in late summer and fall
corresponding to juvenile dispersal.