Family Wrens (Troglodytidae)

Least Concern

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)


French: Troglodyte familier German: Hauszaunkönig Spanish: Chochín criollo

Troglodytes ædon


, 1809,



Sometimes (including in HBW) treated as three species, “Northern House Wren” (with nominate race and parkmanii), “Brown-throated Wren” (brunneicollis with cahooni and nitidus) and “Southern House Wren” (musculus with all other races); however, morphological and acoustic differences between these groups are relatively minor, although variation within the latter two appears fairly high; some evidence of this has been mustered using morphology and acoustics, identifying races nitidus and rufescens as distinctive (but only eight subspecies sampled)#R. Birds breeding in E North America (from Michigan and Quebec S to Kentucky and West Virginia) described as race baldwini, but poorly differentiated from, and therefore merged with, nominate. Species name domesticus has priority, but use of aedon almost universal; this has led to the proposal that the name domesticus be officially suppressed in order to favour stability in nomenclature. Race cahooni (brunneicollis group) intergrades with parkmanii in S Arizona. Birds from NC Mexico were separated as race compositus, but apparently reflect individual variation. The six Lesser Antilles races (“martinicensis” group, of which †martinicensis itself is extinct) possibly warrant species rank. Thirty extant subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. a. aedon Vieillot, 1809 – Northern House Wren – SE Canada (Ontario E to S Quebec) and S in USA to Kentucky and Virginia; non-breeding SE USA (Carolinas S to Texas) and NE Mexico.
  • T. a. parkmanii Audubon, 1839 – S Canada (British Columbia E to W Ontario) S to extreme NW Mexico (N Baja California) and in USA to W Texas and W Kentucky; non-breeding from SW & S USA (California and Texas) S to S Mexico (S to Oaxaca).
  • T. a. cahooni Brewster, 1888 – S USA (S Arizona) and C Mexico (S to Zacatecas and Michoacán).
  • T. a. brunneicollis P. L. Sclater, 1858 – Brown-throated Wren – E Mexico from San Luis Potosí and Hidalgo S to Oaxaca.
  • T. a. nitidus Nelson, 1903 – Mt Zempoaltepec, in Oaxaca.
  • T. a. guadeloupensis (Cory, 1886) – Guadeloupe, in N Lesser Antilles; last confirmed records in 1973#R (possibly extinct).
  • T. a. rufescens (Lawrence, 1877) – Dominica.
  • T. a. martinicensis (P. L. Sclater, 1866) – Antillean House Wren – Martinique; last recorded in 1886.
  • T. a. mesoleucus (P. L. Sclater, 1876) – St Lucia.
  • T. a. musicus (Lawrence, 1878) – St Vincent.
  • T. a. grenadensis (Lawrence, 1878) – Grenada, in S Lesser Antilles.
  • T. a. intermedius Cabanis, 1861 – S Mexico (SE Oaxaca, Tabasco) S to C Costa Rica.
  • T. a. inquietus S. F. Baird, 1864 – extreme SW Costa Rica and Panama (E to Darién).
  • T. a. carychrous Wetmore, 1957 – Coiba I, off S Panama.
  • T. a. pallidipes A. R. Phillips, 1986 – Pearl Is (San José and Pedro González, possibly also Bayoneta and San Telmo), off SE Panama.
  • T. a. atopus Oberholser, 1904 – N Colombia.
  • T. a. striatulus (Lafresnaye, 1845) – W & C Colombia and W Venezuela.
  • T. a. columbae Stone, 1899 – E Andes in Venezuela and Colombia.
  • T. a. effutitus Wetmore, 1958 – NE Colombia (Guajira Peninsula and extreme NE Magdalena).
  • T. a. albicans Berlepsch & Taczanowski, 1884 – SW Colombia and W Ecuador.
  • T. a. clarus Berlepsch & E. J. O. Hartert, 1902 – Venezuela (except W), Trinidad, the Guianas and E Colombia S to NE Peru and N & W Brazil.
  • T. a. tobagensis Lawrence, 1888 – Tobago.
  • T. a. audax Tschudi, 1844 – arid W coast of Peru (from Trujillo S to Pisco).
  • T. a. puna Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1896 – N & E Peru and NW Bolivia.
  • T. a. carabayae Chapman & Griscom, 1924 – C & S Peru (Junín S to Puno).
  • T. a. tecellatus d’Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1837 – extreme SW Peru and N Chile (Lluta Valley).
  • T. a. rex Berlepsch & Leverkühn, 1890 – C & E Bolivia, N Argentina and W Paraguay.
  • T. a. musculus J. F. Naumann, 1823 – Southern House Wren – C, E & S Brazil (S to Mato Grosso), E Paraguay & NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • T. a. bonariae Hellmayr, 1919 – NE Argentina, Uruguay and extreme SE Brazil.
  • T. a. atacamensis Hellmayr, 1924 – N Chile.
  • T. a. chilensis Lesson, 1830 – from C Chile (S from Aconcagua) and C Argentina S to Tierra del Fuego.
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–12·5 cm; 8·9–14·2 g. Nominate race variable: side of face grey-brown, obscurely mottled; crown and upper­parts medium brown... read more


    Male has large repertoire of songs, each a bubbling, cascading series of complex phrases, given... read more


    Quite varied. Generally semi-open country, including forest edge, second growth, abandoned farmland... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food predominantly invertebrates, including bugs (Hemiptera), caterpillars, grasshoppers (Orthoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), spiders (... read more


    Season May–Aug; single-brooded at N edges of range and at higher altitudes, two broods, occasionally three, farther S. Generally... read more


    Migratory over most of North America; occurs throughout year only in extreme SW of breeding range (... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Abundant in much of its range. North American Breeding Bird Surveys over the last 30 years indicate a steady increase in population... read more

    Recommended citation

    Kroodsma, D. & Brewer, D. (2019). House Wren (Troglodytes aedon). 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 20 July 2019).