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Species Description

Carolina Wren

Thryothorus ludovicianus

Species Image


Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Troglodytidae


Rusty-brown color above; paler tan on the belly and undersides; distinct white eyebrow stripe. 14 cm (5.5 in) in length. The slightly down-curved bill and tail cocked upwards are characteristic of all the members of this family. The song of this bird is a loud, variable tea kettle, tea kettle, tea kettle.

Life Cycle

Breeding season begins in early March, peaks from late April to mid-May, and extends to mid-July. The Carolina Wren nests in a variety of places including old woodpecker cavities, within upturned roots of a tree, at the base of trees, in nest boxes, in hanging plants, and even in a coat pocket or a kitchen pot if access is available. The nest is built of twigs, bark strips, and leaves, and lined with finer material. Four to eight (usually 5) eggs, which are whitish or pinkish in color and flecked with browns and purples, are laid and incubated by the female for 12-14 days. The altricial young hatch and leave the nest after 12-14 days.

Natural History

Habitats of the Carolina Wren include brushy areas usually near deciduous forests, but these birds are highly adaptable, using residential areas with available dense shrubby areas. The Carolina Wren forages near the ground, searches for insects and insect larvae from the branches and leaves of shrubs, and will also eat seeds from the ground or vegetation.


Carolina Wren Region Map This species occurs throughout most of the eastern United States. The Carolina Wren is common to very common throughout Georgia, being found with less frequency in the mountains and most commonly in the Coastal Plain.

Conservation Status

This species is in decline in the Northeast and Midwest, and severe winters have caused a decline in the mountainous regions of the Southeast. However, the Carolina Wren is not listed as Threatened or Endangered in any part of its southeastern range.

Similar Species

Confusing similar species includes the House Wren and (during the winter) the Winter Wren. The House Wren is smaller (11-13 cm) and lacks the distinct white eyebrow stripe. The Winter Wren is also smaller (10 cm), lacks the distinct white eyebrow stripe, and has a much shorter tail.