Wren: Key Facts

Did you know there are 88 distinct subspecies of wren? How about that wrens have several distinct physical characteristics that can be used to identify them? Read on to learn more about these and other wren key facts.

Quick Facts About Wrens

Scientific NameTroglodytidae
Number of Subspecies88
Physical DescriptionSmall brown songbird, lighter on the underside and darker on top. Many wrens have speckled markings, and most have a white “eyebrow” marking above each eye. Their bills are long and slender, their bodies rounded, and their tails short and often pointed vertically.
DistributionWidely distributed throughout North and South America, parts of Europe.
HabitatWrens live in a wide variety of habitats, including woodlands, wetlands, rainforests, meadows, deserts, canyons, and urban areas.
Average Size3 ½ to 4 inches long; 7 to 12 grams in weight
Average Lifespan2 years
DietOmnivorous, mostly insectivorous; diet includes:
– Insects
– Seeds
– Nuts
– Fruits
– Berries 
Number of Eggs Per Brood5 to 8; two broods per nesting season.
Nesting HabitsThe male wren selects several nesting sites and builds multiple nests for his mate to choose from. The female picks the site she likes best, then they begin working to line the nest with soft materials such as grass and old leaves.

What Are Wrens?

Wrens are small songbirds that produce loud, trilling songs. There are as many as 88 subspecies of wren which fall under 19 different genera.

Wrens are mostly brown and speckled in color, and most species have a distinctive white “eyebrow” mark above each eye. Other identifying features are the wren’s long, slender beak and its short tail which it often keeps pointed upward. 

Wrens produce loud, trilling, clicking noises when they sing. Their call is highly distinctive and surprisingly loud for such a small bird.  

Wrens lay 5 to 8 eggs, usually twice a year.  

To learn more about wrens and their babies, check out the following video.

Where Do Wrens Live?

Wrens are found throughout North and South America as well as in parts of Europe. Wrens are fairly friendly to humans and will often build nests in backyard nesting boxes, in the eaves of houses, and other locations close to human activity.

Wrens can adapt to a wide variety of habitats. Some live in deserts, while others live in rainforests; some live in dense wooded areas, while others live in meadows.

How Big Are Wrens?

Wrens are very small birds; according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, they are only 9 to 10 cm (3 ½ to 4 inches) long, with wingspans of 13 to 17 cm (5 to 6 ½ inches), and they weigh just 7 to 12 grams.


Wrens are small songbirds known for their noisy song, their “eyebrow” marking, and their fearlessness around humans. They are found in many regions throughout the world, especially in North and South America.

Read also about other forest birds – here are our guides about cuckoo, eagle, swan.

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