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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

Winter Wren -- Troglodytes troglodytes

RANGE: Breeds from coastal southern and southeastern Alaska and northern British Columbia to central Quebec and southern Labrador, south to central California, central Idaho, southeastern Manitoba, southern Wisconsin, and southeastern New York, and in the Appalachians to northeastern Georgia. Winters from southern Alaska and British Columbia east to northeast Colorado, central Iowa, southern Michigan, and Massachusetts south to southern California, southern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and central Florida.

STATUS: Generally uncommon.

HABITAT: Primarily inhabits dense undergrowth of coniferous forests, generally near water. Favors spruce and fir forests, but sometimes inhabits dense mixed and hardwood forests. Frequents thickets near woodland streams, boreal swamps and bogs, banks of marshy ditches, and slash piles. In winter, prefers coniferous and deciduous woodlands with a dense understory, especially in moist areas.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Moist coniferous woodlands with low woody vegetation, or low-lying cold bogs or swamps.

NEST: Usually nests under an upturned root of a tree or under a stump, in a hollow log, brush heap or rocky crevice, or rarely in an old woodpecker hole. Does not typically build its nest in an enclosed cavity as other wrens do.

FOOD: Insects and spiders gleaned from the ground form almost the entire diet.

REFERENCES: Bent 1948, DeGraff et al. 1980, Forbush and May 1955, Johnsgard 1979.

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