Rock Wren

Salpinctes obsoletus

A pale gray bird of rocky areas, the Rock Wren is found throughout arid western North America.

Cool Facts

Photo taken from:
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America by David Allen Sibley
  • The male Rock Wren is a truly remarkable singer and can have a large song repertoire of 100 or more song types, many of which seem to be learned from neighbors.
  • The Rock Wren usually builds a pavement or walkway of small, flat stones or pebbles that leads to the nest cavity. The nest is usually located in a rock crevice out of sight, but the pavement may give away the nest’s location. The function of this pavement is unknown.
  • The Rock Wren is not known to drink water, but instead gets all it needs from its food. Even five birds kept in captivity did not drink water when it was available.
  • A group of wrens has many collective nouns, including a "chime", "flight", "flock", and "herd" of wrens.


Adult Description

  • Small songbird.
  • Pale gray back.
  • Faintly striped throat.
  • Long, barred tail.
  • Long, thin bill.

Immature Description

Juvenile similar to adult, but duller, darker, and with little or no streaking on underparts.
Range Map
Taxonomic Hierarchy


© 2003 Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
     Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Troglodytidae
Genus: Salpinctes
Species: Salpinctes obsoletus
Song a series of repeated buzzy or musical phrases. Call a loud, dry trill, or a clear "tick-ear."

Identification and Information
See Anatomy of a Bird
  • Length Range: 13-15 cm (5-6 in)
  • Weight: 17 g (0.6 oz)
  • Size: Small (5 - 9 in)
  • Color Primary: Brown, Gray
  • Underparts: White to buff with pale gray streaking.
  • Upperparts: Gray with white flecking from crown to mid back blending to red-brown.
  • Back Pattern: No Data
  • Belly Pattern: No Data
  • Breast Pattern: No Data
  • Bill Shape: All-purpose
  • Eye Color: Ranges from brown to dark brown, olive brown to umber.
  • Head Pattern: No Data
  • Crown Color: Grey with white flecking.
  • Forehead Color: Gray with white flecking.
  • Nape Color: Gray with white flecking.
  • Throat Color: White
  • Cere color: No Data
  • Flight Pattern: Weak fluttering direct flights, often short, on shallowly beating wings.
  • Wingspan Range: 23 cm (9 in)
  • Wing Shape: Pointed-Wings
  • Tail Shape: Pointed Tail
  • Tail Pattern: Solid
  • Upper Tail: Red-brown with black barring.
  • Under Tail: White with light barring.
  • Leg Color: Black
  • Breeding Location: Mountains, Rocky cliffs
  • Breeding Type: Monogamous, Solitary nester
  • Breeding Population: Fairly common
  • Egg Color: White with red brown flecks
  • Number of Eggs: 4 - 10
  • Incubation Days: 12 - 14
  • Egg Incubator: Female
  • Nest Material: Rootlets, grasses, stems., Lined with feathers, hair and fur.
  • Migration: Migratory
  • Condition at Hatching: Helpless, with some down.

Other Names

Similar Species

  • Troglodyte des rochers (French)
  • Chivirín saltarroca, Troglodita saltarroca, Saltapared roquero (Spanish)
  • Canyon Wren is much darker, with a white throat, a rufous-and-black tail, and a different voice.

Conservation Status

Declining throughout range.


Sources used to Construct this Page:

Arid or semiarid areas with exposed rock; desert to alpine habitats.
  • Lowther, P. E., D. E. Kroodsma, and G. H. Farley. 2000. Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus). In The Birds of North America, No. 486 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
Insects and other arthropods.
Gleans prey from rocks, removes prey from spider webs; repeatedly hops vertically from ground to capture flying insects.

Adult Sexes Similar

IMGP0258.jpg (688708 bytes)
IMGP0261.jpg (769064 bytes)
IMGP0262.jpg (800263 bytes)
IMGP0263.jpg (708056 bytes)
IMGP0265.jpg (749578 bytes)
IMGP0266.jpg (708720 bytes)
IMGP0267.jpg (715797 bytes)
IMGP0276.jpg (794592 bytes)
IMGP0277.jpg (898098 bytes)
IMGP0278.jpg (915231 bytes)

Additional Photos & Video

Adult Sexes Similar

IMGP0279.jpg (803180 bytes) IMGP0280.jpg (867780 bytes) IMGP0282.jpg (476731 bytes) IMGP0283.jpg (507771 bytes)
IMGP0284.jpg (478022 bytes) IMGP0288.jpg (555377 bytes) IMGP0289.jpg (538877 bytes) IMGP0290.jpg (678391 bytes)
IMGP2726.jpg (758195 bytes) IMGP2727.jpg (806617 bytes) IMGP2728.jpg (824493 bytes) IMGP2730.jpg (818818 bytes)
IMGP2731.jpg (922281 bytes) IMGP2732.jpg (835236 bytes) IMGP2733.jpg (857627 bytes) IMGP2734.jpg (867733 bytes)
IMGP2748.jpg (643816 bytes) IMGP2749.jpg (613304 bytes) IMGP2750.jpg (615780 bytes) IMGP2751.jpg (648300 bytes)
IMGP2752.jpg (627554 bytes) IMGP2753.jpg (594161 bytes) IMGP2754.jpg (569715 bytes) IMGP2755.jpg (639017 bytes)
IMGP2756.jpg (714602 bytes)      



All photos © 2008 Rick Swartzentrover - Free for non-profit use.

Home     Bible     Photos     Hiking Photos     Cults     E-Books     Family Tree     Politics     E-mail