Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)

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This species of bird is a genus of small passerine birds in the wren family. The scientific name comes from the Greek word “troglodytes”, meaning cave-dweller; this refers to its habit of disappearing into cavities or crevices whilst hunting arthropods or to roost.  They are the only member of the wren family Troglodytidae that are found in Eurasia. In Anglophone Europe, it is commonly known simply as the Wren.

Troglodytes measure around 8-12cm in length, a wingspan of 12-16cm and can weigh around 6-12g. They have relatively long, pale brown legs with pale brown beaks. Male and female wrens are similar in appearance, while the juveniles are darker with less distinctive barring on the flanks and indistinct mottling on the breast. They are easy to distinguish from other similar wrens due to their smaller size, shorter tail and a darker coloration. With small, round bodies, a fine pointed bill, short rounded wings, they have a short and stubby tail that is characteristically held cocked upright. 


Mostly found in cooler habitats than most their relatives, most of the species can be found in mountains from Mexico to northern South America. 

Life Cycle

Eurasian wrens are widely distributed across North America, Europe, North Africa and Asia.


Eurasian wrens are widely distributed across North America, Europe, North Africa and Asia. In most southern regions and on some islands including Britain and Ireland, wrens do not usually migrate. However many across the northern population tend to migrate southwards in winter, while others will move to lower altitudes. This species is known as the winter wren. 


Troglodytes are tiny, secretive but highly active woodland birds with a powerful voice. As they creep and/or climb they are incessant rather than being rapid; short flight swifts and direct but not sustained, its tiny wings whirring as it flies from bush to bush.

 They bob their heads almost continuously, and hop on the ground with cocked tail. It moves quickly, constantly flicking its erect tail, and bending its breast downward.

 At night, usually during winter, true to its scientific name, they will retreat into dark snug holes, sometimes even old nests. In hard weather condition they may do so in parties, consisting of either the family or of many individuals that gather together for warmth. 


With a surprisingly powerful voice, Eurasian wrens have a gushing burst of sweet music, loud and emphatic. Enormous for its size and ten times louder than a cockerel, the Wrens song call is one of the most distinctive features. 


To feed, Eurasian Wren hunts on the forest floor, and along the banks of streams. It is often flitting from bush to bush, or running as a mouse on the ground, and like many other wrens they are elusive as they hunt for small insects and spiders. They feed on a wide variety of invertebrates, such as insects and spiders, but also small vertebrates such as fishes, tadpoles and young frogs. It also consumes berries and seeds. However they readily reveal their positions through their loud songs. 

Conservation status

Troglodytes have an extensive and large global population that is estimated at tens or even hundreds of millions of birds. This is thought to be stable or increasing across much of its range. Under the ICUN Red List, this species is classified as Least Concerned


Date last accessed: 22/08/2013

1) Troglodytes (wren)

2) Eurasian Wren

3) Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)

4) IUCN Red List

5) Eurasian Wren