CACTUS WREN


Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus


Description:

The Cactus Wren is the largest wren in North America. Its genus Campylorhynchus name is derived from the Greek words "curved beak". Like other wrens, the Cactus Wren builds many "dummy" nests, which are never used for breeding but serve as roosting places. Cactus Wren are late sleepers and can often be found sleeping on one of their nests. Primarily feeds on insects, which is searches for under leaves and ground litter. Almost all of this birds water is obtained from food, not from free standing water.


Appearance:

Grayish-brown upperparts with black and white streaks and spots. Whitish underparts becoming buffy and spotted towards the tail. The upper breast is dense with black spots. Dark rusty-brown crown and eyeline. Bold white supercilium. White throat. Long, black and white barred, tail. Long, downward curved bill. Dark legs. Sexes similar. 7 to 8.25 inches in length.


Habitat:

Desert thickets and cacti.


Nesting:

4-5 buff eggs heavily marked with brown. The eggs have a 16 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in 19-23 days. The nest is a bulky dome-shaped structure made from fine grass and straw and lined with feathers and hair. The nest has a tubular side entrance and is usually built in the top of a thorny desert shrub or spiny cactus. The nest is typically guarded by sharp spines.


Observed Locations:

  • Visitors center, Anza Borrego Desert State Park


  Listen To This Bird ( mp3 )
         Song #1




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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.