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Bewick's wren

Bewick's wren (Thryomanes bewickii) [state endangered]
Photo © Alan Murphy Photography

Bewick's wren (Thryomanes bewickii) [state endangered]
Photo © Alan Murphy Photography

Features and Behaviors

Bewick’s wren is about five and one-fourth inches long (tail tip to bill tip in preserved specimen). There is a white stripe over the eye, and the outer tail feathers are white with black marks. The feathers on the upper side of the bird are gray-brown.

Bewick’s wren is more common in southern Illinois than in the rest of the state. The house wren has taken over much of its range, and Bewick’s wren is endangered in Illinois. Spring migrants start arriving in the state in mid-March. Its nest is built in a tree cavity or placed in or under human-made structures. There are five to seven or more eggs in a clutch. This species eats insects and spiders.

Reasons for Concern

​Competition for nest sites with house sparrows (Passer domesticus), song sparrows (Melospiza melodia), European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and house wrens (Troglodytes aedon), in particular, has led to this species’ decline throughout the eastern United States.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Troglodytidae

Illinois Status: state endangered, native