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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

Carolina Wren -- Thryothorus ludovicianus

RANGE: Resident from eastern Nebraska, Iowa, and southeastern Minnesota across to southern Ontario, extreme southwestern Quebec, and southern New England, south to Mexico, the Gulf Coast, and Florida.

STATUS: Common; populations are beginning to recover in the northern portion of its range where they had previously declined.

HABITAT: Found in a variety of habitats from lowland streambank tangles to upland brushy slopes and woodland edges, especially in moist areas with thickets and undergrowth such as honeysuckle, greenbrier, and brush piles. Also frequents cutover forests, cultivated areas with brush heaps or old buildings, and suburban parks and gardens. In winter, moves to low, flat ground near tidewater creeks in the Northeast, and to narrow valleys and deep ravines in other areas.


NEST: Prefers nest sites that are fairly well enclosed. Typically nests in natural tree cavities, woodpecker holes, overturned root cavities, birdhouses, under rocks, and in building crevices. Locates nest usually less than 10 feet above the ground, sometimes in low shrubs or in grasses.

FOOD: Consumes a diet that is about 94 percent animal food, nearly all insects gleaned from trees, shrubs, and the ground. Also eats some snails, lizards, tree frogs, berries, and seeds. Will come to bird feeders for food.

REFERENCES: Armistead in Farrand 1983b, Bent 1948, DeGraff et al. 1980, Forbush and May 1955, Johnsgard 1979, Nice and Thomas 1948, Scott et al. 1977, Tate and Tate 1982.

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