Unsorted Wild Birds

Cactus Wrens

The Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) is the state bird of Arizona. It forms permanent pair bonds, and the pairs defend a territory where they live all through the year.


The Cactus Wren is the largest North American wren, measuring 18-23 cm (7-9 inches) in length.

It has white eyestripes, a brown head, barred wings and tail, and spotted tail feathers.

It has a slightly curved bill.

Males and females look alike.

Identification Tips:

  • Length: 6.5 inches
  • Long, slightly decurved bill
  • Bold white supercilium (line above eye) contrasting with dark and eyeline
  • White throat
  • Upper breast densely spotted with black
  • Underparts white becoming buffy toward tail and spotted
  • Upperparts grayish-brown with black and white streaks and spots
  • Long tail barred with black and white
  • Dark legs
  • Sexes similar
  • Similar species: Thrashers are somewhat similar but are larger and lack the white supercilium (line above eye) and dense spotting on the breast.

Distribution / Habitat:

The Cactus Wren is native to the south-western United States southwards to central Mexico.

It inhabits arid regions, and is often found around yucca, mesquite or saguaro.


It nests in cactus plants, sometimes in a hole in a saguaro.


It mainly eats insects, though it will occasionally take seeds or fruits. It rarely drinks water, getting its moisture from its food.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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