Marsh Wren

Cistothorus palustris




Wrens (Troglodytidae)

Code 4


Code 6



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Breeding Type:

Polygamous, Colonial

Egg Color:

Brown with dark brown flecks

Number of Eggs:

3 - 10

Incubation Days:

12 - 16

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

As high as 15 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Reeds, grass, sedge, bulrushes, and cattails.





Marsh Wren: Small wren with lightly barred, warm brown upperparts, black-and-white triangular patch on upper back, and dull white underparts with pale brown sides. Crown is dark and eyebrows are white. Tail is relatively short and dark-barred. Sexes are similar.

Range and Habitat

Marsh Wren: Found throughout much of North America. Breeds from British Columbia, central interior Canada, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia south to Mexico, the Gulf coast, and Florida. Spends winters across the southern tier of states, north to Washington on the west coast and east to New England. Found in a variety of wetland habitats.

Breeding and Nesting

Marsh Wren: Three to ten brown eggs, flecked with dark brown, are laid in a globular nest made of reeds and cattails with a side entrance, lined with feathers and cattail down, and anchored to reeds. Incubation ranges from 12 to 16 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Marsh Wren: Eats insects and other invertebrates. Forages on or near the marsh floor, where it gleans food from vegetation and the water surface. Sometimes forages in thickets or shrub patches near marshes.

Readily Eats

Apple Slices, Peanut Butter


Marsh Wren: Loud, gurgling song consisting of several introductory notes, a trill of repeated syllables, and usually one to several concluding notes; usually lasts about 1 to 2 seconds with a highest rate of about 20 per minute.

Similar Species

Marsh Wren: Bewick's Wren has an unstreaked back. Sedge Wren has a less distinct stripe behind eye and a streaked crown.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X