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Key Information

Scientific Name: Troglodytes troglodytes

Bird Family: Wrens

UK Breeding Birds: 8,600,000 territories

UK Conservation Status: Amber

In the lush woodlands and secluded gardens of the UK, a diminutive, lively bird holds sway - the Wren. Despite its small stature, this avian marvel packs a punch and powerful song, captivating birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.

What does a wren look like?

The wren is one of the smallest birds in the UK, measuring a mere 9 to 10 cm in length and a wingspan of 13 to 17 cm. It weighs approximately 8 to 13 grams, making it almost as light as a few sheets of paper. The wren exhibits a brownish-grey plumage with intricate mottling, providing excellent camouflage in its natural habitat. The tail is short, often held upright, and has fine barring on its wings.

What does a wren sound like?

Despite its size, the wren possesses a powerful and melodious song. Its high-pitched trills and warbles are distinguishable in woodlands and gardens.

What do wrens eat?

Wrens are predominantly ground-feeding birds, typically foraging around the grass with their sharp bills or bird tables and feeders with large perches. As wrens are primarily insectivorous, they enjoy feeding on various insects. Live or dried mealworms are a favourite of wrens. They are a good source of protein and mimic the insects that wrens naturally forage for. This bird is also partial to our tasty suet treats that contain a mix of seeds, nuts, and insects, providing an all-round balanced diet.

Where do wrens nest?

Wrens are known for crafting their nests in a variety of concealed locations. These may include dense vegetation, shrubs, hedges, and even the nooks and crannies of buildings. Their nests are often situated in spots that provide ample cover and protection for their young. This adaptability allows them to thrive in diverse environments, ranging from woodlands to gardens.

Do wrens nest in bird boxes?

Yes, wrens are known to nest in bird boxes. They are adaptable birds and will utilize man-made structures like nest boxes if they find them suitable for nesting. However, wrens are pretty selective about their nesting sites, so the box must meet their specific preferences. Wrens prefer open-fronted nest boxes that are situated at least 5 meters off the ground. Below is a selection of nest boxes wrens would happily use.

When do wrens nest?

Wrens typically nest during the spring and summer months. Their breeding season generally spans from March to July, with peak nesting activity occurring in April and May. The female takes on the responsibility of constructing the nest. She builds an intricate, dome-shaped structure using a variety of materials. Common nesting materials include twigs, grasses, leaves, moss, nesting wool, and even small feathers from other birds. 

Once the nest is completed, the female lays a clutch of 5 to 8 eggs. The eggs are usually white or pale pink and speckled with small reddish-brown spots.

The female takes on the task of incubating the eggs, which lasts approximately 15 days. During this period, she diligently keeps the eggs warm and protected. After hatching, both parents share the responsibility of caring for the chicks. They take turns feeding and protecting the young birds. After 15 to 20 days, the wrens will be ready to leave the nest, where the parents will continue to provide them until they are prepared to fend for themselves.

Is the wren the smallest British bird?

The wren is not the smallest British bird, but it does come close 2nd! It lost out on 1st place for the smallest bird in the UK to the goldcrest. The wren is around 9 to 10 cm long, whereas the goldcrest is slightly smaller at 8.5 to 9.5 cm.

How rare are wrens in the UK?

Wrens are not considered rare in the United Kingdom. In fact, they are one of the most widespread and abundant breeding bird species in the country. Their adaptability to various habitats, from woodlands and parks to gardens and hedgerows, contributes to their widespread distribution. 

Are wrens migratory birds?

No, UK wrens are not migratory birds. They are primarily sedentary and tend to stay in or around their breeding territories year-round. While some individuals may make short-distance movements, particularly during harsh winter conditions or in search of food, these movements are generally not considered true migration.