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Canyon Wren Catherpes mexicanus


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Canyon Wren
credit: J. N. Stuart/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Troglodytidae, Wrens view all from this family

Description ADULT Has rufous-brown upperparts overall, with dark barring on wings and tail and tiny black and white spots on back and rump. Crown is speckled gray, face, throat, and chest are white, and underparts are otherwise rufous, with spots and bars. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but with less distinct bars and spots.

Dimensions Length: 5 1/2 -6" (14-15 cm)

Habitat Locally common resident, restricted to dry, steep-sided rocky canyons and cliffs.

Observation Tips Easiest to detect by listening for call and song. Prolonged scanning of rock face may be needed to locate bird itself.

Range California, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Western Canada, Northwest, Texas, Plains

Voice Song is a descending series of whistling notes ending with 3-4 rasping, wheezy notes; call is a piercing jeet.

Discussion Well-marked and distinctive wren, with a long bill and rather long tail, rounded when fanned. Forages unobtrusively, with a creeping manner, in rock crevices for insects and spiders. Inaccessibility of its favored habitats (such as steep-sided rocky canyons) means that views are often distant and that silent birds are hard to locate. Sexes are similar.