House wren (Troglodytes aedon).
F. Lahrman (Saskatchewan Environment) SKCDC, 2001. Ecosystem image information system
Marsh wren (Cistothorus palustris).
Paul Geraghty (Royal Saskatchewan Museum)

Wrens (family Troglodytidae) are small, brown, secretive songbirds with raised, distinctively barred tails, which creep through vegetation looking for insects and fruit. They have short rounded wings for quick and erratic flight. Their narrow heads and long slender bills are ideal for probing for food in deep crevices. Most species nest in cavities. The family is native to the New World, except for a single Eurasian species. There are seventy-nine wren species, nine of them in North America; five wren species breed in Saskatchewan. The house wren (Troglodytes aedon) is small, with drab grayish-brown plumage and very pale facial markings. Its incessant, cheerful babbling song is commonly heard in summer in southern Saskatchewan. It breeds in a variety of shrubby habitats. Its population has been increasing in Saskatchewan since 1960s. The winter wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) is tiny, short-tailed, and dark-coloured with a distinctive “eyebrow.” It breeds in the old-growth mixedwood and coniferous stands of the southern forest. The rock wren (Salpinctes obsoletus) breeds in badland areas, gravel pits and coal spoil piles in southern Saskatchewan. This wren is relatively large, has a long bill and pointed wings, and distinctive pale buffy tips on tail feathers. The sedge wren (Cistothorus platenis) is tiny and fairly short-tailed, and has a boldly streaked brownish back and crown. It breeds in wet tall grass meadows with scattered shrubs in the aspen parkland, boreal forest fringe, and northern edge of the grassland ecoregion in Saskatchewan. The marsh wren (Cistothorus palustris) is small and stocky, long-billed, and relatively brightly patterned with rufous rump and white eye stripe. It breeds in the reeds, bulrushes and cattails of permanent marshes of southern Saskatchewan.

Robert Warnock

Further Reading

Alsop, Fred J., III. 2002. Birds of Canada. New York: Dorling Kindersley.