Wren Troglodytes troglodytes   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Passeriformes Family: Troglodytidae
BTO Codes: WR, WREN. EURING No: 10660
Number in Britain: 7.7 million Territories (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: Not a species of concern
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: zetlandicus (R), fridariensis (R), hebridensis (R), hirtensis (R), indigenus (R), troglodytes (W) recorded in Britain (of 41 subsp. in the world)
Length: 10 cm Wingspan: 15 cm Weight: M/F: 10 g    
Scientific name from: Gr.: trogle=a hole + dutes=a diver
World Distribution: Eurasia, North America
Habitat: Forest, woodland, undergrowth
Diet: Insects, esp beetles, spiders, usually feeds close to ground (<2m high)
TitBit: According to legend the wren is greater than the eagle - one perched on an eagle's head so overflying it. A symbol of dark and earth, the tradition of the wren-hunt (latterly on St Stephens Day) dates to Neolithic times.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: BirdTrends   
Regional Trends: Scotland   Wales   England   English Regions
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore    BBS Maps
British Population Size:
    Summer: 7.7 million Territories in 2009
    First Record: Recorded in Anglo-Saxon times [Fossil evidence from Devensian (last) glaciation, 10-120,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: GREEN
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 GREEN     1996-2001 GREEN  
   Races of Concern: zetlandicus AMBER (European Concern), fridariensis RED (International Concern), hebridensis AMBER (European Concern), hirtensis RED (International Concern), indigenus AMBER (Important Population), troglodytes GREEN
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    Most frequent in: Deciduous Wood
    Also common in: Scrub, Pasture Farmland, Villages, Towns, Coniferous Wood
    And found in: Arable Farmland, Grass/Heath, Marsh
Relative Frequency in Each Habitat:
European Population Size:
    Summer: 21 to 36 million pairs   (Trend in Numbers)
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WBD(I*), Bern(III)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack
Results from Garden BirdWatch

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 16 x 13 mm Egg Weight: 1.3 g (of which 6 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 336
Clutch Size: 5 - 6 eggs 5.70 ± 1.13 (2 - 10) N = 3482
Incubation: 16- 18 days 16.40 ± 2.27 (12 - 20.5) N = 3482   by the: Female
Fledging: 15 - 18days 16.40 ± 2.27 (12 - 20) N = 3969 as: Altricial, downy
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Nest Record Scheme data
First Clutches Laid: 2 May (14 Apr - 21 Jun)
Number of Broods: 2
See trends in Breeding Productivity
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.319 ± 0.021       
Juvenile Survival: 0.263 (in First-Year)  
Age at First Breeding: 1 year Typical Lifespan: 2 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 6 years 8 months 13 days (set in 2000)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: AA
Wing Length Adult: 48.8 ± 2.1 Range 46 - 52 mm, N =17388
Juvenile: 48.5 ± 2.0 46 - 52 mm, N =23612
Male: 50.3 ± 1.7 48 - 52.5 mm, N =3049
Female: 47.6 ± 1.7 45 - 50 mm, N =3808
Weight Adult: 9.91 ± 1.61 Range 8.30 - 11.50 g , N =13989
Juvenile: 9.53 ± 0.96 8.10 - 11.20 g , N =18343
Male: 10.51 ± 0.70 9.50 - 11.50 g , N =2353
Female: 9.81 ± 2.00 8.30 - 11.60 g , N =3007
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Winter Wren
Gaelic: Dreathann-donn Welsh: Dryw
Danish: Gærdesmutte Dutch: Winterkoning
Finnish: Peukaloinen French: Troglodyte mignon
German: Zaunkönig Hungarian: Ökörszem
Icelandic: Músarrindill Irish: Dreoilín
Italian: Scricciolo Norwegian: Gjerdesmett
Polish: Strzyzyk zwyczajny Portuguese: Carriça
Spanish: Chochin Swedish: Gärdsmyg
Local Names: Stumpy Toddy, Sumpit, Our Lady's Hen
Collective Noun:Herd or Chime

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Armstrong, E. 1955 The wren Collins, London [598.872 ARM]
   Armstrong, E.A. 1992 The Wren Shire Publications, Princes Risborough [Jour: S]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides
All About Birds (from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology)