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Cactus Wren
Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Troglodytidae
Swainson, 1832


The wrens are passerine birds in the mainly New World family Troglodytidae. There are about 80 species of true wrens in about 20 genera, though the name is also ascribed to other unrelated birds throughout the world.

Troglodyte means "cave-dweller", and the wrens get their scientific name from the tendency of some species to forage in dark crevices. They are mainly small and inconspicuous except for their loud and often complex songs. These birds have short wings and a thin down-turned bill. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous, though some also feed on vegetable matter, and the larger—sometimes notably bold—species in of the genus Campylorhynchus will take small vertebrates (e.g. lizards).

They range in size from the White-bellied Wren, which averages under 10 cm (4 in.) and 9 grams, to the Giant Wren, which averages at about 22 cm (8.7 in.) and 50 grams (1.8 oz). The dominating colours are grey, brown, black and white, and most species show some barring, especially to tail and/or wings.

Only one species occurs in the Old World, where it is commonly known simply as the "Wren"; it is called Winter Wren in North America. The various species occur in a wide range of habitats, ranging from dry, sparsely wooded country to rainforest. The vast majority are found at low levels, but some members of the genus Campylorhynchus and both members of the genus Odontorchilus are commonly found at canopy height. A few species, notably the Winter Wren and the House Wren, are often associated with humans.

The 27 Australasian "wren" species in the family Maluridae are unrelated, as are the New Zealand wrens in the family Acanthisittidae, the antwrens in the family Thamnophilidae, and the Wren-Babblers of the family Timaliidae.

Genus list in taxonomic order

Revised following Martínez Gómez et al. (2005) and Mann et al. (2006). The taxonomy of some groups is highly complex, and future species-level splits are likely. Additionally, undescribed taxa are known to exist. The Black-capped Donacobius is an enigmatic species traditionally placed with the wrens more for lack of a more apparent alternative and/or thorough study. It was more recently determined to be most likely closer to certain " warblers", possibly the newly-established Megaluridae, and might constitute a monotypic family (Alström et al. 2006).

  • Genus Odontorchilus
    • Grey-mantled Wren (Odontorchilus branickii)
    • Tooth-billed Wren (Odontorchilus cinereus)
  • Genus Salpinctes
    • Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus)
  • Genus Microcerculus
    • Flutist Wren (Microcerculus ustulatus)
    • Southern Nightingale-Wren (Microcerculus marginatus)
    • Northern Nightingale-Wren (Microcerculus philomela)
    • Wing-banded Wren (Microcerculus bambla)
  • Genus Catherpes
    • Canyon Wren (Catherpes mexicanus)
  • Genus Hylorchilus
    • Nava's Wren (Hylorchilus navai)
    • Slender-billed Wren (Hylorchilus sumichrasti)
  • Genus Campylorhynchus
    • Band-backed Wren (Campylorhynchus zonatus)
    • Bicolored Wren (Campylorhynchus griseus)
    • Boucard's Wren (Campylorhynchus jocosus)
    • Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus)
    • Fasciated Wren (Campylorhynchus fasciatus)
    • Giant Wren (Campylorhynchus chiapensis)
    • Gray-barred Wren (Campylorhynchus megalopterus)
    • Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha)
    • Spotted Wren (Campylorhynchus gularis)
    • Stripe-backed Wren (Campylorhynchus nuchalis)
    • Thrush-like Wren (Campylorhynchus turdinus)
    • White-headed Wren (Campylorhynchus albobrunneus)
    • Yucatan Wren (Campylorhynchus yucatanicus)
  • Genus Thryomanes
    • Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)
  • Genus Thryothorus
    • Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)
      • White-browed Wren (Thryothorus (ludovicianus) albinucha)
Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)
  • Genus Cinnycerthia
    • Fulvous Wren (Cinnycerthia fulva)
    • Peruvian Wren (Cinnycerthia peruana)
    • Rufous Wren (Cinnycerthia unirufa)
    • Sharpe's Wren (Cinnycerthia olivascens)
  • Genus Cantorchilus (formerly included in Thryothorus)
    • Stripe-breasted Wren (Cantorchilus thoracicus)
    • Stripe-throated Wren (Cantorchilus leucopogon)
    • Plain Wren (Cantorchilus modestus)
      • Canebrake Wren (Cantorchilus (modestus) zeledoni)
    • Riverside Wren (Cantorchilus semibadius)
    • Bay Wren (Cantorchilus nigricapillus)
    • Superciliated Wren (Cantorchilus superciliaris)
    • Buff-breasted Wren (Cantorchilus leucotis) (probably not monophyletic)
    • Fawn-breasted Wren (Cantorchilus guarayanus)
    • Long-billed Wren (Cantorchilus longirostris)
  • Genus Thryophilus (formerly included in Thryothorus)
    • Gray Wren (Thryophilus griseus) (placement in genus requires confirmation)
    • Rufous-and-white Wren (Thryophilus rufalbus)
    • Niceforo's Wren (Thryophilus nicefori)
    • Sinaloa Wren (Thryophilus sinaloa)
    • Banded Wren (Thryophilus pleurostictus)
  • Genus Pheugopedius (formerly included in Thryothorus)
    • Moustached Wren (Pheugopedius genibarbis)
    • Coraya Wren (Pheugopedius coraya)
    • Whiskered Wren (Pheugopedius mystacalis)
    • Plain-tailed Wren (Pheugopedius euophrys)
    • Black-bellied Wren (Pheugopedius fasciatoventris)
    • Black-throated Wren (Pheugopedius atrogularis)
    • Sooty-headed Wren (Pheugopedius spadix)
    • Speckle-breasted Wren (Pheugopedius sclateri)
    • Happy Wren (Pheugopedius felix)
    • Inca Wren (Pheugopedius eisenmanni)
    • Rufous-breasted Wren (Pheugopedius rutilus)
    • Spot-breasted Wren (Pheugopedius maculipectus)
  • Genus Cyphorhinus
    • Chestnut-breasted Wren (Cyphorhinus thoracicus)
    • Musician Wren (Cyphorhinus aradus)
    • Song Wren (Cyphorhinus phaeocephalus)
Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Stamp FR 345 of Postverk Føroya, Faroe Islands
Issued: 22 February 1999
Artist: Astrid Andreasen
  • Genus Uropsila
    • White-bellied Wren (Uropsila leucogastra)
  • Genus Henicorhina - wood-wrens
    • Bar-winged Wood-Wren (Henicorhina leucoptera)
    • Gray-breasted Wood-Wren (Henicorhina leucophrys)
    • White-breasted Wood-Wren (Henicorhina leucosticta)
    • Munchique Wood-Wren, (Henicorhina negreti)
  • Genus Thryorchilus
    • Timberline Wren (Thryorchilus browni)
  • Genus Troglodytes (10-15 species, depending on taxonomy; includes Nannus which may be distinct however)
  • Genus Cistothorus
    • Apolinar's Wren (Cistothorus apolinari)
    • Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)
    • Paramo Wren (Cistothorus meridae)
    • Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis)
  • Genus Ferminia
    • Zapata Wren (Ferminia cerverai)
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