Marsh wrens consume aquatic invertebrates, other insects, and spiders, which they glean from the water surface, on stems and leaves of emergent vegetation, and the marsh floor (Kale, 1965; Welter, 1935). They sometimes also feed by flycatching (Welter, 1935). The insect orders most commonly taken include Coleoptera (both adults and larvae), Diptera (adults and larvae), Hemiptera (juveniles and adults), Lepidoptera (larvae most commonly fed to nestlings); and Odonata (newly emerged) (Bent, 1948; Kale, 1964). When feeding the young, at first the parents bring mosquito adults and larvae, midges, larval tipulids, and other small insects (Welter, 1935).
As the young mature, the parents bring larger insects such as ground beetles, diving beetles, long- horned beetles, caterpillars, dragonflies, and sawflies to the nestlings (Welter, 1935). In a population in Georgia, spiders (usually 1 to 3 mm in size, sometimes 12 to 15 mm), small crabs (5 to 7 mm), small snails (1 to 3 mm), and insect eggs also were consumed and fed to nestlings (Kale, 1965). Thus, organisms that are aquatic for all or part of their lives are an important component of the diet of marsh wren adults and nestlings.
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