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.

Description

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

Spotted_Sandpiper_AllAm

© 2003 Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
     Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Troglodytidae
Genus: Salpinctes
Species: Salpinctes obsoletus
Sound
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
Body
  • 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
 
Head
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

Habitat

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.
Food
Insects and other arthropods.
Behavior
Gleans prey from rocks, removes prey from spider webs; repeatedly hops vertically from ground to capture flying insects.

Adult Sexes Similar

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Additional Photos & Video

Adult Sexes Similar

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Videos

 

 
 
 

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

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