Reddish-brown above (western birds are more gray); white eyebrow; white underneath; brown and white barring on the outer feathers and the underside of the tail. 13 cm (5.25 in) in length. A stocky bird with a long thin bill and with a long tail which is commonly held up in wren-like fashion.
In the eastern United States, the breeding season begins in mid-April, peaks in May, and extends until late June. Breeding habitat includes many wooded areas. The nest is usually built on the ground to 20 feet ( m) above the ground in a cavity or in a tree. On the ground, the nest is usually placed in a crevice or among tree roots. The cavity or crevice is lined with grass and other material. The female lays 4-11 (usually 5-7) eggs that she incubates for 12-14 days. The young are altricial and fledge 14 days after hatching.
Since most birds of this species are non-migratory, the non-breeding habitat is similar to the breeding habitat. The diet consists primarily of insects, but also includes spiders. The Bewick's Wren catches food by picking items off of the ground or low vegetation. Some individuals of this species are migratory.
The Bewick's Wren occurs all year in the coastal states of the western United States and in the southern states west of the Mississippi River. birds east of the Mississippi can be found in the Appalachian states during the breeding season and in the southeastern states for the winter. In Georgia, the Bewick's Wren occurs only in the mountain areas in the north. Many populations are year-round residents, but some migrate south for the winter.
Populations of this species east of the Mississippi River are declining. The subspecies Thryomanes bewickii altus is is state-listed as Threatened in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama and Of Special Concern in Kentucky.
The species most similar to the Bewick's Wren is the Carolina Wren. The Carolina Wren is slightly larger and has a buffy chest and belly. The tail of the Carolina Wren does not have the white that is found on the tail of the Bewick's Wren.