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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Canyon Wren -- Catherpes mexicanus

RANGE: Resident from southern interior British Columbia and eastern Washington to Wyoming, southeastern Montana, and southwestern South Dakota south to Baja California and Mexico.

STATUS: Fairly common.

HABITAT: Found in two primary habitats; areas with water, such as boulder-strewn streams, rocky canyons, and river gorges, and major rock formations, such as tall cliffs, large caves, mesas, and buttes. Prefers cool, shaded canyons with rock outcrops.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Small cliffs, talus, or rock outcrops for nesting and foraging.

NEST: Favors ledges in caverns or rocky crevices for nest sites but sometimes attaches nest to a rock face in a cave or wide crevice. May also nest in buildings.

FOOD: Forages mainly in secluded or covered habitats, gleaning insects and spiders from rock surfaces or the ground.

REFERENCES: Bent 1948, Johnsgard 1979, Verner and Boss 1980, Webster in Farrand 1983b.

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