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Carolina wren

Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) Photo provided by SteveByland/

Features and Behaviors

The Carolina wren averages about five and three-fourths inches in length (tail tip to bill tip in preserved specimen). This tiny bird has red-brown feathers and a prominent, white eye stripe. The bill is long and curved slightly downward.

The Carolina wren is a common, permanent resident in southern Illinois decreasing northward in the state. It is most numerous in bottomland woods but is also found in vines and thickets in urban areas. This wren cocks its tail over its back when not flying. Its song is “tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea” sung loudly. The breeding season occurs from mid-April through July. The nest may be built in a natural cavity, a woodpecker hole or in humanmade structures, such as hanging flower pots. The bulky nest of leaves, twigs and other plant materials may have a dome. Both male and female work to build the nest in about five days. The four to six, white eggs have red-brown markings. The female incubates for the entire 14-day incubation period, but the male does bring food to the nest for her. More than one brood is raised per season. The Carolina wren eats insects and spiders.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native