Bewick’s Wren

The Bewick’s Wren, (pronounced Buick’s), is a small, shy and unobtrusive bird, except for its waving tail. This wren will nest in almost any cavity: tin cans, brush piles, Woodpecker holes, old shoes and buckets. Bewick's Wren|Oso Flaco Lake|Guadalupe, CA   Just use your imagination!


This Bewick’s Wren is grayish-brown above with an obvious whitish eyebrow which extends back down the neck.  It has a long, fanned tail, often cocked upward, which it flips and jerks from side to side as well as raises slowly up and down. The top and bottom of the tail is barred with black and you might be able to see the white spots on the outer tail feathers when the tail is fanned. This wren has whitish underparts and an unstreaked back. The bill is long and slightly downcurved. The legs and feet are gray.  Both adults look similar.

The juvenile is like the adult but has dark edges to its feathers.

Range and Habitat

The Bewick’s Wren’s habitat is in the undergrowth of coastal scrub, chaparral, desert scrub, and around the edges of oak and riparian woodlands, often near water. This wren is sometimes found in suburban gardens and parks.  It is a commonly found wren in the west, but it is declining in numbers east of the Rockies. It is also found in Central America.


Energetic and constantly on the move, this little bird actively forages in the bushes while it waves it long tail.  While it is feeding, it will poke its beak into most any cavity, often probing under the bark of a tree looking for insects and spiders. You will find it foraging on hollow trees, on rocks, or on the ground while it turns over the leaf litter.  The Bewick’s Wren has a large repertoire of songs which it learns while it is still in its parent’s territory. Its song is higher than a House Wren’s and sometimes sounds like a Song Sparrow’s song.  It starts with high, loud, notes, followed by low burry notes and ends in a thrill. Like all wrens, it also has a scolding note and a mixture of buzzy and repeated notes.  They are solitary birds except during breeding time.

Breeding and Nesting

The male sings to attract his female and to defend his territory The Bewick’s Wren nests in a hole or crevice; it will also nest in bird boxes.  The male will start to build several nests of sticks in available cavities.  The female chooses one and will add the finishing touches to the nest such as leaves, moss and feathers. The female lays 4-7 spotted eggs.  The male feeds the female while she is on the nest.  They both feed the young when they hatch in about two weeks.  In another two weeks, the young fledge.  The pair of adults might have more than one brood in the summer.

Photo Gallery Bewick’s Wren