Overview

Brief Summary

Thryomanes bewickii

A medium-sized (5 ¼ inches) wren, Bewick’s Wren is most easily identified by its plain brown back, pale breast, long tail (often held up at an angle), long curved bill, and conspicuous white eye-stripes. This species may be distinguished from the similar House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by that species’ small size and fainter eye-ring and from the Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) by that species’ larger size and warmer-toned plumage. Male and female Bewick’s Wrens are similar to one another in all seasons. Bewick’s Wren primarily occurs in western North America from British Columbia south to central Mexico and east to the central Great Plains. Although this species was formerly widespread in the eastern United States as far north and east as the Mid-Atlantic region, its range in those areas is greatly reduced today compared to a century ago, with isolated pockets persisting in the Ohio River valley and the southern Appalachian Mountains. In this species’ core range, most birds are non-migratory, although some birds at the northern or southern extremities of this range migrate short distances south in winter. Bewick’s Wrens inhabit open areas with thick ground cover, such as bushy fields, thickets, and dry scrubland. Eastern populations are heavily dependent on land cleared for agriculture, and much of this species’ decline in those areas is thought to have been caused by the return of woodland habitats to its favored abandoned agricultural fields. Bewick’s Wrens primarily eat small insects, but may also eat small quantities of seeds and berries during the winter when insects are scarce. In appropriate habitat, Bewick’s Wrens may be seen foraging for food on the ground or in the branches of bushes and shrubs. Birdwatchers may also listen for this species’ song, a series of buzzing notes recalling that of the Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia). Bewick’s Wrens are most active during the day.

Threat Status: Least Concern

  • Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii). The Internet Bird Collection. Lynx Edicions, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
  • Kennedy, E. Dale and Douglas W. White. 1997. Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/315
  • Peterson, Roger Tory. Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. Print.
  • Thryomanes bewickii. Xeno-canto. Xeno-canto Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
  • eBird Range Map - Bewick's Wren. eBird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, N.d. Web. 20 July 2012. .
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Distribution

Range Description

Thryomanes bewickii is a North American species, whose main range spreads from south-west Canada through western and central U.S.A. to Mexico (del Hoyo et al. 2005) . The subspecies brevicaudus and leucophrys, of Guadalupe Island (Mexico), and San Clemente Island (U.S.A.), respectively, are both now extinct (Anthony 1901, del Hoyo et al. 2005).
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

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Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: historically, mainly from southwestern British Columbia, western and central Washington, western and southern Oregon, northern California, west-central and southern Nevada, southern Utah, southwestern Wyoming, central Colorado, Kansas, southeastern Nebraska, southern Iowa, extreme southern Great Lakes region, and southeastern New York, south to southern Baja California, northern Sonora, in Mexican highlands to central Oaxaca, western Puebla, and west-central Veracruz, and to southern Tamaulipas, central Texas, northern Arkansas, northern portions of the Gulf states (except Louisiana), and central South Carolina (AOU 1983). Formerly occurred on San Clemente Island (California) and Isla Guadalupe (Mexico). Species has nearly disappeared from all of the range east of the Mississippi River (Kennedy and White 1997). The greatest numbers are now, and probably always have been found, in the southwestern U.S. The highest encounter rates from 1976 to 1985 were found in central and southern Texas, central and southern Arizona, and southern and northcentral California. Highest average birds per BBS routes (1982-1991) were located in Arizona (9.67), Texas (5.24), California (4.25), New Mexico (3.37), and Oklahoma (2.57). A small population concentration also exists in western Washington. Eastern states, in contrast, average 0.05 birds per route. NON-BREEDING: northern limits of breeding range (west of the Rockies), Kansas, Missouri, lower Ohio Valley, Tennessee, and North Carolina south to limits of breeding range in Mexico, the Gulf coast, and central Florida (AOU 1983). The population east of the Mississippi has nearly disappeared. Subspecies ALTUS: historically, Appalachian region from southern Ontario, central Ohio, and cental Pennsylvania south to central Alabama, central Georgia, and central South Carolina, wintering south to the Gulf coast and central Florida (AOU 1957); now very local and rare in this range.

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Physical Description

Size

Length: 13 cm

Weight: 10 grams

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Comments: BREEDING: Uses brushy areas, thickets and scrub in open country, open and riparian woodland, and chaparral. More commonly in arid regions but locally also in humid areas (subtropical and temperate zones) including country towns and farms (AOU 1983). In southwestern North America, primary habitats include chaparral, brushy slopes, pinyon-juniper, live-oak, and mesquite associations. In southwestern Wyoming, preferred woodlands with a combination of pinyon pine and high overstory juniper cover (Pavlacky and Anderson 2001). Along the northern Pacific coast, occurrences are in rough country, clearcut forests, open second-growth, and in the vicinity of human habitations (Bent 1948). In eastern North America, generally occurs at higher elevations of the Appalachians in farmyards, brushy places, openings and edges of woodlands, and overgrown fields. Typically nests in natural tree cavities or among crannies formed by exposed roots. May use small cavities in human-made objects including fence posts, buildings, or bird houses.

Its habitat during the period of peak abundance and expansion in 1800s and early 1900s was different from that of the current population. For example, in North Carolina during the early 1900s, wrens commonly occurred in towns and farmyards at all elevations of the mountains (Pearson et al. 1942, Potter et al. 1980). Most of the North Carolina records since 1950 have been in forest openings, pastures with fences and brushpiles that are away from human habitation and above 4.000 feet.

NON-BREEDING: eastern birds abandon montane habitats, moving into weedy open country, especially around old farm buildings, brushpiles, and fencerows, at lower elevations.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Northern breeding populations are partially migratory in the east, move south for winter. Elevational migrations occur in some areas. In the western half of the United States, the Bewick's wren is essentially non-migratory. However, the populations found in the Appalachians and in the Midwest are migratory, and travel in early spring, often arriving in March (Stupka 1963). The birds remains on the breeding grounds until October or November. Those that nest in the Appalachians and Midwest winter farther south, mainly from Kentucky and Missouri southward to the Gulf Coast, but they are very rare in Florida.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Insects comprise about 97% of the diet (beetles, leaf bugs, stink bugs, boll weevils, grasshoppers, etc). Also eats spiders and other small animal food. Forages on the ground, among foliage and limbs of trees and bushes, on logpiles, or around old buildings. Most of its foraging occurs within ten feet of the ground.

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Comments: Numerous occurrences, especially in the southwestern U.S.

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Global Abundance

10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Common in southwestern U.S. Average number of birds per Breeding Bird Survey route in southwestern states was as high as 9.7 in Arizona. On the other hand, the Appalachian population is nearly extirpated, and all BBS routes had much fewer than 1.0 bird per route.

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 8 years (wild)
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Reproduction

Lay eggs from April into June, with from four to nine (usually five to seven) eggs per clutch. Generally, two or three broods are raised per year (Potter et al. 1980). The female incubates and the chicks hatch after approximately 14 days. Juveniles fledge approximately 14 days after hatching. Both parents feed until young are 28 days old (Bent 1948, Harrison 1978).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Thryomanes bewickii

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 10 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CCTATATCTAATTTTCGGCGCATGAGCCGGAATAGTAGGCACTGCCCTAAGCCTCCTCATCCGAGCAGAGCTGGGTCAACCCGGCGCCCTACTTGGAGACGACCAAGTCTACAATGTAGTCGTTACAGCCCATGCTTTTGTAATAATTTTCTTCATAGTCATACCAATTATAATTGGAGGATTTGGAAATTGACTAGTTCCTCTGATGATCGGAGCCCCTGACATAGCATTCCCTCGAATAAATAACATAAGCTTCTGACTTCTACCCCCATCATTCCTGCTCCTACTAGCCTCCTCCACCGTCGAAGCAGGAGTCGGAACAGGTTGAACTGTCTACCCCCCCCTAGCAGGTAACCTAGCCCATGCCGGAGCATCAGTCGACCTGGCCATCTTCTCCCTACACTTAGCAGGTATCTCCTCCATCCTAGGTGCAATCAACTTCATCACAACAGCAATCAACATAAAACCCCCTGCCCTATCTCAATACCAAACACCCCTATTCGTCTGATCCGTCCTAATCACCGCAGTCCTCTTACTCCTCTCCCTCCCCGTCCTCGCTGCGGGCATCACCATGCTACTAACAGATCGAAACCTCAACACTACATTCTTTGACCCCGCTGGAGGAGGAGACCCCGTCCTATACCAACACCTANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Thryomanes bewickii

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 11
Specimens with Barcodes: 17
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
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