Family Wrens (Troglodytidae)

Least Concern

Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)


French: Troglodyte de Bewick German: Buschzaunkönig Spanish: Cucarachero colinegro

Troglodytes bewickii


, 1827,

five miles [8 km] from St Francesville, Louisiana, USA


Taxonomy complex and much debated. Sometimes placed in genus Troglodytes, on basis of voice, behaviour and plumage, but without reference to DNA; in past, considered by some to be close to Troglodytes sissonii in Thryomanes, with suggestion that they might even be conspecific; however, genetic data place present species as closely related to Thryothorus ludovicianus. Other proposed races: from S California (USA), correctus (San Benito County S to San Diego), nesophilus (islands of Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Anacapa) and catalinae (Santa Catalina I), all synonymized with charienturus; also, birds from C Mexico (Jalisco, S Zacatecas), described as race percnus, appear indistinguishable from murinus. Sixteen extant subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. b. calophonus Oberholser, 1898 – extreme SW Canada (SW British Columbia) and W USA (Washington, W Oregon); non-breeding N California.
  • T. b. atrestus Oberholser, 1932 – SC Oregon, NE California and WC Nevada.
  • T. b. marinensis Grinnell, 1910 – NW California (Del Norte S to Marin County).
  • T. b. spilurus (Vigors, 1839) – C coastal California S to Monterey Bay.
  • T. b. drymoecus Oberholser, 1898 – C California (including Sacramento Valley).
  • T. b. charienturus Oberholser, 1898 – S California (S from San Benito County) and NW Mexico (Baja California S to c. 30° N), including some offshore islands (Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Catalina Is).
  • T. b. cerroensis (Anthony, 1897) – Cedros I and adjacent mainland of Baja California.
  • T. b. magdalenensis Huey, 1942 – SW Baja California (26° N S to 24° N).
  • T. b. leucophrys (Anthony, 1895) – San Clemente I, off S California.
  • T. b. brevicauda Ridgway, 1876 – Guadalupe I, off Baja California.
  • T. b. eremophilus Oberholser, 1898 – interior SW USA (E California, S Nevada and Utah E to W Texas) and WC Mexico (NE Sonora, Chihuahua and Coahuila S to N Zacatecas).
  • T. b. bewickii (Audubon, 1827) – C USA (N & E Kansas E to Mississippi).
  • T. b. cryptus Oberholser, 1898 – W & S Kansas, W Oklahoma and much of Texas (except W) S to NE Mexico (N Nuevo León, N Tamaulipas).
  • T. b. pulichi (A. R. Phillips, 1986) – E Kansas, Oklahoma.
  • T. b. sadai (A. R. Phillips, 1986) – coast from S Texas to C Tamaulipas.
  • T. b. murinus (Hartlaub, 1852) – C plateau of Mexico (from S Zacatecas and S Nuevo León S to Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos and Tlaxcala).
  • T. b. mexicanus (W. Deppe, 1830) – S Mexico (S Puebla, W Veracruz, Oaxaca).
  • T. b. altus Aldrich, 1944 – very locally E USA (mainly Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia).
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13·5 cm; 7·8–11·8 g. Nominate race has greyish lores, conspicuous white postocular supercilium, ear-coverts mottled grey and grey-brown;... read more


    Male has repertoire of 10–20 songs (number varying geographically) that consist of 2–4... read more


    Very varied. Bushy areas, brushland, well-vegetated suburban areas, regenerating farmland; in W... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food mostly invertebrates. In examination of stomach contents in SW USA (California), 31% of items were bugs (Hemiptera), 21% beetles (... read more


    Egg dates in USA early Mar in Texas to late Apr in E; multiple-brooded in S parts of range, more often single-brooded in NW; no data on... read more


    Largely sedentary over most of range, with some post-breeding withdrawal from N fringes. E... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common in much of range. Two races extinct: brevicauda (from Guadalupe I, off Baja California) disappeared c. 1903, probably as a... read more

    Recommended citation

    Kroodsma, D. & Brewer, D. (2019). Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 16 February 2019).