Family Wrens (Troglodytidae)

Least Concern

Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis)


French: Troglodyte des forêts German: Winterzaunkönig Spanish: Chochín hiemal

Troglodytes hiemalis


, 1819,

Nova Scotia and New York


Until recently considered conspecific with T. troglodytes and T. pacificus, but differs from latter in characters given under that species and from former in its much lower number of repeat series in song (3); lower average frequency range of individual notes (2)#R; generally plainer (less mottled) breast and upper flanks (ns). Species rank accepted here despite failure to satisfy the Tobias criteria, but this highlights the need for considerable work to clarify relationships in this complex, explore the degree of differentiation among taxa and determine their true species limits. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. h. hiemalis Vieillot, 1819 – E North America from C Canada E to Newfoundland and in NE USA (NE Minnesota E to Maine and S to Pennsylvania); non-breeding from S Canada (S Ontario) S to Texas and N Florida, rarely to NE Mexico.
  • T. h. pullus (Burleigh, 1935) – Appalachians (from West Virginia and W Virginia S to N Georgia); non-breeding range not known.
  • Descriptive notes

    8–12 cm; 8–12 g. Like T. pacificus, a small, dark wren with stubby tail, short bill and pale supercilium. Upperparts rufescent-brown with... read more


    Like T. pacificus, male gives long complex song of tumbling trills and tinkling... read more


    Breeds in variety of forest types, including moist coniferous forest, pure deciduous forest and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds primarily on ground (on fallen trees, rootwads, rotting wood), in shrubs and in lower layer of forest canopy, taking a wide... read more


    Little information available relative to that for T. pacificus, which see for general details on nest-site selection and... read more


    Resident, migrant and partial migrant, depending on locale. Winters regularly from S Iowa, N... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Thought to be common over much of breeding range, but no reliable data on numbers, and very few concerning population trends. The... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis). 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 28 February 2020).