troglodytes aedon

Troglodytes (wren)

Troglodytes is a genus of small passerine birds in the wren family. These wrens are around 11 or 12 cm long. They are typically streaked brown above and somewhat paler below, with short rounded wings, strong legs and a cocked tail. The flight is direct and buzzing.

Troglodytes wrens are mostly found in somewhat cooler habitats than most of their relatives. Most of the species are found in the mountains from Mexico to northern South America. Three species are found in temperate latitudes: The House Wren occurs widely in both tropical and temperate lowlands. The hardy Winter Wren has a wide distribution in North America, Europe and Asia and is the only wren of any genus which occurs outside the New World. The Cobb's Wren of the Falkland Islands is another species which tolerates harsh conditions well.

Like other wrens, they are elusive as they hunt for small insects and spiders, but they readily reveal their positions through their loud songs.

These are territorial birds, but the tiny Winter Wren will roost communally in a cavity in cold weather to help conserve heat.

Systematics and species

The closest living relatives of this genus are possibly the Timberline Wren and the Cistothorus species rather than the Henicorhina wood-wrens as is sometimes proposed.

A number of the Troglodytes species, such as the Clarion Wren, were formerly considered subspecies of the House Wren, and it has been argued that at least the tropical forms of the House Wren should be further split as the Southern House Wren, Troglodytes musculus. The Socorro Wren, in older times placed into Thryomanes (Bewick's Wren), is actually a close relative of the House Wren complex, as indicated by "manners, song, plumage, etc and by biogeography and mtDNA NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 sequence analysis.

The Winter Wren is less closely related to the other members of the genus, and is occasionally split as the monotypic genus Nannus. It might actually be closely related to Cistothorus, but again, the molecular data is insufficient to properly resolve this issue.


  • House Wren, Troglodytes aedon - taxonomy needs revision
    • Northern House Wren, Troglodytes (aedon) aedon group
    • Brown-throated Wren, Troglodytes (aedon) brunneicollis group
    • Southern House Wren, Troglodytes (aedon) musculus group
    • Cozumel Wren, Troglodytes (aedon) beani
    • Guadeloupe Wren, Troglodytes aedon guadeloupensis - taxonomic status unresolved; possibly extinct (late 20th century)
    • Martinique Wren, Troglodytes aedon martinicensis - taxonomic status unresolved; possibly extinct (c.1890)
  • Clarion Wren, Troglodytes tanneri - formerly included in T. aedon
  • Socorro Wren, Troglodytes sissonii - formerly included in T. aedon
  • Cobb's Wren, Troglodytes cobbi - formerly included in T. aedon
  • Rufous-browed Wren, Troglodytes rufociliatus
  • Tepui Wren, Troglodytes rufulus
  • Mountain Wren, Troglodytes solstitialis
  • Ochraceous Wren, Troglodytes ochraceus
  • Santa Marta Wren, Troglodytes monticola
  • Winter Wren, Troglodytes troglodytes - possibly belongs in monotypic genus Nannus

Even with the help of the most recent molecular data the relationships of the species could not be fully resolved however. There appear to be 2 clades, one comprising the house wren group and another containing Central and South American species. The relationships of the Rufous-browed and Brown-throated Wrens are indeterminable with the present molecular data; they appear fairly basal and the former might be closer to the house wren group than the latter. The Santa Marta Wren is quite enigmatic and little-studied.



  • (1991): A guide to the birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd edition). Comstock Publishing, Ithaca, N.Y.. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2
  • (2003): Birds of Venezuela. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
  • (1995): A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York. ISBN 0-19-854012-4
  • (2005): Phylogenetic position and generic placement of the Socorro Wren (Thryomanes sissonii). Auk 122(1): 50–56. [English with Spanish abstract] DOI:10.1642/0004-8038(2005)122[0050:PPAGPO]2.0.CO;2 PDF fulltext
  • (2002): Field Guide to the Birds of North America. National Geographic, Washington DC. ISBN 0-792-26877-6
  • {{aut|Rice, Peterson and Escalona-Segura: Phylogenetic patterns in montane Troglodytes wrens
  • (1989): A guide to the birds of Costa Rica. Comistock, Ithaca. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4
  • (1999): Collins bird guide. Harper & Collins, London. ISBN 0-00-219728-6

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