Canyon Wren (Catherpes mexicanus)

Canyon Wren

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Troglodytidae | [latin] Catherpes mexicanus | [UK] Canyon Wren | [FR] Troglodyte des canyons | [DE] Schluchten-Zaunkonig | [ES] Cucarachero Barranquero | [NL] Kloofwinterkoning


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Hylorchilus mexicanus
Catherpes mexicanus NA, MA sw Canada to s Mexico
Catherpes mexicanus cantator
Catherpes mexicanus conspersus
Catherpes mexicanus croizati
Catherpes mexicanus griseus
Catherpes mexicanus meliphonus
Catherpes mexicanus mexicanus
Catherpes mexicanus pallidior
Catherpes mexicanus punctulatus

Physical charateristics

Note the white bib. Rusty, with dark rufous-brown belly contrasting with a white breast and throat.

Listen to the sound of Canyon Wren

[audio: Wren.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 18 cm wingspan max.: 20 cm
size min.: 11 cm size max.: 15 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 18 days
fledging min.: 9 days fledging max.: 11 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 7  


North America, Middle America : Southwest Canada to South Mexico


Cliffs, canyons, rockslides; stone buildings. Generally around areas with steep rock faces and some dense low growth, as in steep-walled canyons or around the bases of cliffs; also in boulder fields and sometimes around ston
e buildings. May move into denser streamside vegetation away from cliffs in winter.


Nesting behavior is not well known. Male defends nesting territory by singing.
Site is usually in hole or crevice in rocky cliff, among rock piles, on ledge in cave; sometimes in crevices in stone buildings, in abandoned sheds, in hollow stumps, or similarly protected sites. Nest (built by both sexes) has foundation of twigs, grass
, bark chips, and other coarse items, topped with cup of softer materials such as fine grass, moss, leaves, spider webs, plant down, animal hair, feathers.
Eggs: 5-6, sometimes 4-7. White, lightly dotted with reddish brown. Incubation is probably by female, incubation period not well known.
Young: Both parents probably bring food to nestlings. Development of young and age at which they leave the nest are not well known.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects. Diet is not well known. Undoubtedly feeds mostly on insects; also some spiders, probably other arthropods.
Forages by hopping actively about among rock piles, up and down faces of steep rocky cliffs, or through very dense undergrowth in canyons. Uses its very long bill to probe deeply into crevices among the rocks. Usually forages alone, sometimes in pairs. H
as been seen stealing spiders stored in the nest of a predatory wasp.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Canyon Wren status Least Concern


Resident, southwestern British Columbia to southern Mexico. Migration: Unlike the Rock Wren, a permanent resident throughout its range, but may move into denser habitats in winter.

Distribution map

Canyon Wren distribution range map

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