Troglodytes (bird)

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Troglodytes musculus.jpg
Southern house wren in São Paulo Botanic Garden (Brazil). It is sometimes considered a distinct species, Troglodytes musculus.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Troglodytidae
Genus: Troglodytes
Vieillot, 1809

About one dozen, see text.

  • Anorthura

Troglodytes[1] is a genus of small passerine birds in the wren family. These wrens are around 11–13 centimetres (4.3–5.1 in) long. They are brownish above and somewhat paler below, with strong legs. Their short rounded wings and frequently cocked tail have a dark barred pattern. The flight is direct and buzzing.

Troglodytes wrens are mostly found in somewhat cooler habitats than most of their relatives. Most of the species are found in the mountains from Mexico to northern South America. Five species are found in temperate latitudes: The house wren occurs widely in both tropical and temperate lowlands, but is frequently split into several species. Until recently, the hardy winter wren was believed to have a wide distribution in North America, Europe, Asia and North Africa, but it has recently been split into three species, of which the Eurasian wren is the only wren of any genus found outside the New World. The Cobb's wren of the Falkland Islands is another species which tolerates harsh conditions well.

Like other wrens, they are elusive as they hunt for small insects and spiders, but they readily reveal their positions through their loud songs.

These are territorial birds, but the tiny winter wren will roost communally in a cavity in cold weather to help conserve heat.

Systematics and species[edit]

The genus Troglodytes was introduced by the French ornithologist Louis Pierre Vieillot in 1809.[2] The type species was subsequently designated as the house wren (Troglodytes aedon).[3]

The closest living relatives of this genus are possibly the timberline wren and the Cistothorus species rather than the Henicorhina wood-wrens as is sometimes proposed.[4]

A number of the Troglodytes species, such as the Clarión wren, were formerly considered subspecies of the house wren, and it has been argued that at least the tropical forms of the house wren should be further split as the southern house wren, Troglodytes musculus. The Socorro wren, in older times placed into Thryomanes (Bewick's wren), is actually a close relative of the house wren complex, as indicated by "manners, song, plumage, etc."[5] and by biogeography and mtDNA NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 sequence analysis.[4]

The winter wren is less closely related to the other members of the genus, and is occasionally split as the monotypic genus Nannus. It might actually be closely related to Cistothorus,[4] but again, the molecular data is insufficient to properly resolve this issue.

Even with the help of the most recent molecular data[4] the relationships of the species could not be fully resolved however. There appear to be two clades, one comprising the house wren group and another containing Central and South American species. The relationships of the rufous-browed and brown-throated wrens are indeterminable with the present molecular data; they appear fairly basal and the former might be closer to the house wren group than the latter. The Santa Marta wren is quite enigmatic and little-studied.


Troglodytes musculus
  • House wren, Troglodytes aedon – taxonomy needs revision
    • Northern house wren, Troglodytes (aedon) aedon group
    • Brown-throated wren, Troglodytes (aedon) brunneicollis group
    • Southern house wren, Troglodytes (aedon) musculus group
    • Cozumel wren, Troglodytes (aedon) beani
    • Guadeloupe wren, Troglodytes aedon guadeloupensis – taxonomic status unresolved; possibly extinct (late 20th century)
    • Martinique wren, Troglodytes aedon martinicensis – taxonomic status unresolved; possibly extinct (c. 1890)
  • Clarión wren, Troglodytes tanneri – formerly included in T. aedon
  • Socorro wren, Troglodytes sissonii – formerly included in T. aedon
  • Cobb's wren, Troglodytes cobbi – formerly included in T. aedon
  • Rufous-browed wren, Troglodytes rufociliatus
  • Tepui wren, Troglodytes rufulus
  • Mountain wren, Troglodytes solstitialis
  • Ochraceous wren, Troglodytes ochraceus
  • Santa Marta wren, Troglodytes monticola
  • Winter wren, Troglodytes hiemalis
  • Pacific wren, Troglodytes pacificus
    • Kiska wren, Troglodytes pacificus kiskensis
    • Aleutian wren, Troglodytes pacificus meligerus
    • Troglodytes pacificus ochroleucus
    • Tanaga wren, Troglodytes pacificus tanagensis
    • Seguam winter wren, Troglodytes pacificus seguamensis
    • Stevenson's winter wren, Troglodytes pacificus stevensoni
    • Unalaska wren, Troglodytes pacificus petrophilus
    • Semidi wren, Troglodytes pacificus semidiensis
    • Alaska wren, Troglodytes pacificus alascensis
    • Troglodytes pacificus muiri
    • Troglodytes pacificus obscurior
    • Troglodytes pacificus salebrosus
    • Kodiak wren, Troglodytes pacificus helleri
  • Eurasian wren, Troglodytes troglodytes
    • Northern wren, Troglodytes troglodytes troglodytes
    • Icelandic winter wren, Troglodytes troglodytes islandicus
    • Corsican winter wren, Troglodytes troglodytes koenigi
    • British Isles wren, Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus
    • Fair Isle wren, Troglodytes troglodytes fridariensis
    • St Kilda wren, Troglodytes troglodytes hirtensis
    • Hebridian winter wren, Troglodytes troglodytes hebridensis
    • Shetland wren, Troglodytes troglodytes zetlandicus
    • Faeroes winter wren, Troglodytes troglodytes borealis
    • West Mediterranean winter wren, Troglodytes troglodytes kabylorum
    • Libyan winter wren, Troglodytes troglodytes juniperi
    • East Mediterranean winter wren, Troglodytes troglodytes cypriotes
    • Caucasian winter wren, Troglodytes troglodytes hyrcanus
    • Daito wren, Troglodytes troglodytes orii – validity doubtful; extinct (c.1940)
    • Troglodytes troglodytes dauricus
    • Troglodytes troglodytes idius
    • Troglodytes troglodytes kurilensis
    • Magrath's wren, Troglodytes troglodytes magrathi
    • Troglodytes troglodytes mosukei
    • Caucasian wren, Troglodytes troglodytes neglectus
    • Troglodytes troglodytes szetschuanus
    • Troglodytes troglodytes talifuensis
    • Sooty wren, Troglodytes troglodytes fumigatus
    • Nepal wren, Troglodytes troglodytes nipalensis
    • Troglodytes troglodytes pallescens
    • Troglodytes troglodytes zagrossiensis
    • Troglodytes troglodytes tianschanicus
    • Troglodytes troglodytes ogawae
    • Troglodytes troglodytes taivanus
    • Troglodytes troglodytes subpallidus


  1. ^ Etymology: Ancient Greek τρωγλοδύτες "cave-dwellers" (compare troglodyte), from trogle (τρώγλη) "hole" + dyein (δυειν) "to enter". In reference to the tendency of these wrens to enter small crevices as they search for food.
  2. ^ Vieillot, Louis Jean Pierre (1809). Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de l'Amérique Septentrionale : contenant un grand nombre d'espèces décrites ou figurées pour la première fois (in French). Volume 2. Paris: Desray. p. 52. Dated 1807 on title page but not published until 1809.
  3. ^ Mayr, Ernst; Greenway, James C. Jr, eds. (1960). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 9. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 415.
  4. ^ a b c d Gómez, Juan E. Martínez; Barber, Brian R.; Peterson, A. Townsend (2005). "Phylogenetic position and generic placement of the Socorro Wren (Thryomanes sissonii)" (PDF). The Auk. 122: 50. doi:10.1642/0004-8038(2005)122[0050:PPAGPO]2.0.CO;2. hdl:1808/16612. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-12-17.
  5. ^ Howell, Steven N.G. & Webb, Sophie (1995): A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York. ISBN 0-19-854012-4

Further reading[edit]

  • ffrench, Richard; O'Neill, John Patton & Eckelberry, Don R. (1991): A guide to the birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd edition). Comstock Publishing, Ithaca, N.Y. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2
  • Hilty, Steven L. (2003): Birds of Venezuela. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
  • National Geographic Society (2002): Field Guide to the Birds of North America. National Geographic, Washington DC. ISBN 0-7922-6877-6
  • Rice, Peterson and Escalona-Segura: Phylogenetic patterns in montane Troglodytes wrens
  • Stiles, F. Gary & Skutch, Alexander Frank (1989): A guide to the birds of Costa Rica. Comistock, Ithaca. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4
  • Svensson, Lars; Zetterström, Dan; Mullarney, Killian & Grant, P. J. (1999): Collins bird guide. Harper & Collins, London. ISBN 0-00-219728-6

External links[edit]

  • Wren videos, photos and facts at [1]