Photograph by Mark Chappell/Animals Animals—Earth Scenes
Carolina Wren Range
- Average life span in the wild:
- 6 years
- 5.5 in (14 cm)
- Less than 0.75 oz (20 g)
- Did you know?
- A single, captive male Carolina wren reportedly sang some 3,000 times in one day.
- Size relative to a tea cup:
The Carolina wren is an adaptable dweller of forestlands, swamps, farms, and tree-filled human communities.
Carolina wrens (Thryothorus ludovicianus) are small but very vocal animals. Males are especially outgoing and are the only ones to produce songs. They employ one of the loudest songs per volume of birds. They are apt to sing anytime and anyplace they happen to be.
Carolina wrens are usually found in pairs, and each pair stays on its home territory all year long. Because these wrens cannot survive cold winters, they tend to live in southern climes, and are the official state bird of South Carolina. They are found as far north as the Great Lakes, and warm winters spur them to extend their range northward. However, when colder years arrive, many northern birds are unable to survive and fringe populations plummet.
These large wrens feed on insects, larvae, and spiders but also eat berries and fruit. They forage on or near the ground and hop along far more often than they fly. They use their bills to poke about and search for hidden meals and try to remain close to brush in which they can hide.
Carolina wrens are monogamous, and breeding pairs may stay together for years. They work together to construct nests—which may be found almost anywhere. Wrens nest in natural locations such as branches, tree-holes, and stumps but also frequent windowsills, mailboxes or other attractive human-made spots.
Females lay about four eggs and incubate them for two weeks while their mates bring them food. Both parents feed their chicks for an additional two weeks before they gain independence. A mating pair of Carolina wrens may have several broods each year.
Identify your backyard visitors in a flash! Just answer four simple questions to search our database of 150 backyard birds common to Canada and the U.S.
Explore the pelican’s prodigious pouch. Find out how these famous fishers bring home the catch of the day.
Get right up close to 12 colorful new bird galleries, featuring photos from My Shot members and classic art from the NG archives.
How much do you know about the feathered visitors to your backyard? Put your avian IQ to the test with this quiz.
Scientists estimate only about 3,000 wild tigers are left in the entire world. Meet the subspecies and see what threats each is facing.