|Recorded in Cape May, New Jersey, US|
|Genus:||Thryothorus (but see text)
T. l. burleighi
|Range of T. ludovicianus Year-round range|
The Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) is a common species of wren, resident in the eastern half of the USA, the extreme south of Ontario, Canada, and the extreme northeast of Mexico. A distinct population in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, Belize and extreme north of Guatemala is treated either as a subspecies Thryothorus ludovicianus albinucha, or as a separate species, white-browed wren (Thryothorus albinucha) . Following a 2006 review, these are the only wrens remaining in the genus Thryothorus. T. ludovicianus is the state bird of South Carolina; its specific name ludovicianus means "from Louisiana".
Typically 12.5 to 14 cm (4.9 to 5.5 in) with a 29 cm (11 in) wingspan and a weight of about 18 to 23 g (0.63 to 0.81 oz), it is a fairly large wren; among the United States species it is second largest after the cactus wren. Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 5.4 to 6.4 cm (2.1 to 2.5 in), the tail is 4.5 to 5.6 cm (1.8 to 2.2 in), the culmen is 1.4 to 1.8 cm (0.55 to 0.71 in) and the tarsus is 2 to 2.3 cm (0.79 to 0.91 in). The upperparts are rufous brown, and the underparts a strong orange-buff, usually unmarked but faintly barred on the flanks in the southwest of the range. The head has a striking pure white supercilium (eyebrow) and a whitish throat. The race albinucha is duller brown above and has additional white streaking on the head.
It is easiest to confuse with the Bewick's wren, a fairly close relative, which differs in being smaller but with a longer tail, grayer-brown above and whiter below. The Carolina and white-browed wrens differ from the house wren in being larger, with a decidedly longer bill and hind toe; their culmen has a notch behind the tip.
Song and calls
The Carolina wren is noted for its loud song, popularly rendered as "teakettle-teakettle-teakettle". This song is rather atypical among wrens and closely resembles that of the Kentucky warbler which shares much of its range. A given bird will typically sing several different songs. Only the male birds sing their loud song. The songs vary regionally, with birds in northern areas singing more slowly than those in southern areas.
The Carolina wren also has a series of calls, including a rapid series of descending notes in a similar timbre to its song, functioning as an alarm call, and a very harsh and loud scolding call made to threaten intruders.
The Carolina wren is sensitive to cold weather. Since they do not migrate and stay in one territory the northern populations of Carolina wrens decrease markedly after severe winters. Because of this sensitivity to weather, gradually increasing temperatures over the last century may have been responsible for the northward range expansion seen in the mid-1900s.
Populations in Canada and the northern half of the US experience regular crashes following severe winters, but their high breeding productivity soon results in a return to higher numbers. These birds are generally permanent residents throughout their range and defend territory year round; some birds may wander north after the breeding season.
These birds prefer sites with dense undergrowth, either in mixed forests or in wooded suburban settings, in a natural or artificial cavity. The nest is a bulky, often domed structure, with a small hole towards the top. Nests of the more domestically-inclined wrens have been reported in a great variety of nooks and crannies in, about, or under buildings of various kinds, under bridges, or in holes in any structure such as a porch, fence-post, flowerpot, tree, house or barn. Almost any kind of receptacle may offer an acceptable nesting site. Pairs may mate for life.
Females typically lay between four to six eggs (normally over a period of several days) up to three times per year (but normally only twice). Eggs are oval, grayish-white and sprinkled with reddish-brown spots. Incubation is performed by the female only and lasts anywhere from 12–14 days, with the first young leaving the nest 12–14 days after hatching. Chicks hatch bald and blind, and depend upon parents until fledging. Both the male and female feed the young. They only brood for a short period of time after hatching, leaving the young in a warm, down-lined nest while adults search for food. If conditions are right, the same nest may be used more than once.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Thryothorus ludovicianus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- David, Normand; & Dubois, Alain (2011). "The original spellings of Thryothorus Vieillot, 1816 (Vertebrata, Aves): a correction". Zootaxa 2918: 68–68.
- Mann, Nigel I.; Barker, F. Keith; Graves, Jeff A.; Dingess-Mann, Kimberly A. & Slater, Peter J.B. (2006). "Molecular data delineate four genera of "Thryothorus" wrens". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40 (3): 750–9. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.04.014. PMID 16750640.
- Brewer, David and McMinn, Sean (2001) Wrens, Dippers, and Thrashers: A Guide to the Wrens, Dippers, and Thrashers of the World, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0300090598.
- Martínez Gómez, Juan E.; Barber, Bruian R. & Peterson, A. Townsend (2005). "Phylogenetic position and generic placement of the Socorro Wren (Thryomanes sissonii)". The Auk 122: 50. doi:10.1642/0004-8038(2005)122[0050:PPAGPO]2.0.CO;2.
- Brattstrom, Bayard H. & Howell, Thomas R. (1956). "The Birds of the Revilla Gigedo Islands, Mexico". Condor 58 (2): 107–120. doi:10.2307/1364977.
- "All About Birds: Carolina Wren". Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to the Carolina wren.|
|Wikispecies has information related to: Thryothorus ludovicianus|
- Identification tips - USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
- Species account – Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- About - Bird Houses 101
- Stamps - BirdLife International
- Carolina wren videos, photos, and sounds at the Internet Bird Collection
- Carolina wren photo gallery at VIREO (Drexel University)
- Sound - Florida Museum of Natural History