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Species Of Wrens, Wrens And Humans

Wrens are 63 species of small, restless perching birds in the family Troglodytidae. Species of wrens are most diverse in North America and South America, although one species, the winter wren, breeds widely in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Wrens occur in a wide range of habitats, including semidesert, prairie, savanna, forests, and wetlands. Species of wrens breed from the boreal zone to the humid tropics.

Wrens are small, stout birds, ranging in body length from 3.9-8.7 in (10 to 22 cm). They have short, rounded wings, and long, strong legs, feet, and claws, and they hold their tail cocked upwards. Their bill is rather long, slender, pointed, and downward curved. Wrens are relatively dull colored, commonly in gray, brown, or rufous hues, patterned with white or black bars, mottles, or spots, and often a white belly. The sexes do not differ in coloration, and juveniles are similar to adults.

Wrens are active birds, often chattering and flitting about in dense undergrowth or shrubbery in search of their food of insects and other invertebrates. However, wrens are furtive animals and do not often emerge from dense cover, so that in spite of their bustling activity, they are not frequently seen. Wrens roost in concealed nestlike structures at night. During cold weather, wrens may roost together in huddled social groups.

Wrens are territorial. Males proclaim and defend their breeding territory using a rapidly phrased, melodious song. The nest may be placed in a hollow cavity, or it may be constructed as a dome-shaped structure of plant fibers and twigs, usually placed on or close to the ground. The clutch size ranges from two to 11, with larger numbers of eggs being laid by birds of temperate ecosystems, and smaller A marsh wren (Cistothorus palustris) perched in cattail stalks at Stoney Point, Ontario, Canada. Photograph by Robert J. Huffman. Field Mark Publications. Reproduced by permission.
clutches by wrens breeding in tropical habitats. The female incubates the eggs, but males help with raising the brood. Some species of wrens breeding in boreal and temperate habitats are commonly polygynous, particularly in situations where the territory of the male is of high quality.

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