Canyon Wren Facts

Fascinating canyon wren facts are for everyone

The wren family consists of 88 species and 19 genera. The genus Catherpes has three subspecies which are Catherpes mexicanus mexicanus, Catherpes mexicanus albifrons, and Catherpes mexicanus conspersus and these three subspecies are found in different habitats around the world. However, they are all birds of North America. Canyon wrens (Catherpes mexicanus mexicanus) are found throughout the Mexican plateau especially in the central and southern region. Howevere, these birds are tiny and  are hard to spot. The Catherpes  mexicanus albifrons can be spotted in parts of the northern Mexican plateau extending to the west-central region of North America. In regions of Canada and the United States, the Catherpes mexicana conspersus can be found.

These subspecies of canyon wrens have distinct beaks which distinguish them from each other. Their bodies are brown while their heads are slightly grayish compared to the rest of their body. Canyon wrens are identical to rocky wrens in terms of their preferred habitat because both of these species enjoy steep rocky outcrops and arid regions where they feed on small insects which are present in rock crevices.

This tiny songbird can cling to rocky walls with ease as it is has adapted to its surroundings and the long delicate beak makes its search for insects effortless. Canyon wrens are often observed crawling around rocks as they have strong claws with good grip. This bird can also map a steep surface. Canyon wrens are susceptible in winter as they require a warm climate to survive. This species is not threatened, however certain human activities like rock climbing can unsettle their nesting sites.

If you want to learn more about canyon wrens, keep reading this article. Please check our other articles about house wren and swallow.

Canyon Wren

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Small insects and spiders

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

0.3-0.7 oz (9.9-18.3 g)

How long are they?


How tall are they?

4.5-6.1 in (11.4-15.4 cm)

What do they look like?


Skin Type


What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Arid regions


North America





Scientific Name

Catherpes mexicanus mexicanus Catherpes mexicanus albifrons Catherpes maxicanus conspersus





Canyon Wren Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a canyon wren?

Canyon wrens is a species that is further divided into three subspecies called Catherpes mexicanus mexicanus, Catherpes mexicanus albifrons, and Catherpes mexicanus conspersus of order Passeriformes, family Troglodytidae.

What class of animal does a canyon wren belong to?

This bird species belongs to the class Aves.

How many canyon wrens are there in the world?

Canyon wrens are birds that can be found throughout North America. They are plentiful and the total number of canyon wrens (Catherpes mexicanus) is approximately 310,000 as of 2019.

Where does a canyon wren live?

These North American birds are distributed in different areas according to the formation of their bill.  They are found in areas such as the southern part of British Colombia into the Okanagan Valley, south Montana, Idaho, central Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma and most of Mexico. The different subspecies can be found in different areas. Catherpes mexicanus mexicanus inhabits the southern plateau of Mexico, while the Catherpes mexicanus albifrons can be found in western Texas and northern Mexico. Catherpes mexicanus conspersus can be spotted throughout most of the United States but not Canada.

What is a canyon wren's habitat?

A canyon wren's habitat can be described as an arid region with steep rocky outcrops.  Canyons and arid terrain are the most favorable habitats for these birds. Apart from canyons, this species can also be found near buildings made out of rock. Their nests are made by both male and female birds, and are located inside crevices of cliffs and among piles of rock. Sometimes, their nests are found in abandoned shades and other protected places. Their nests appear like a cup and the base of the nest is made out of a coarse substance while the inner lining of the nest is made up of soft materials.

Who do canyon wrens live with?

These North American birds are solitary nesters.

How long does a canyon wren live?

The average life span of this bird is not stated but the oldest bird of this species lived until the age of four years and 10 months and it was a female canyon wren.

How do they reproduce?

This bird species is monogamous and a male sings during the mating season while a female responds by singing as well. The mating pair not only forage together but also construct their nest together. The method of reproduction is copulation and the duration of the incubation period is approximately 12 to 18 days. Meanwhile, the male takes care of the female and feeds her. A female bird generally lays five to six eggs in the nest, however a maximum of seven eggs can be laid. Canyon wrens normally have two breeds a year.

What is their conservation status?

This North American bird species' conservational status according to the National BBS is of least concern as these birds are found abundantly all over North America. The IUCN has also given them a status of Least Concern. There has been a decline in their population in Texas. Regions like the Chihuahua Desert and Edwards Plateau which are partially or entirely in Texas also exhibited a similar decrease in their population.

Canyon Wren Fun Facts

What does a canyon wren look like?

The maximum population of this bird is found in the arid regions of North America and this small bird is around 4.5-6.1 in (11.4-15.4 cm). This species of bird is divided into three subspecies based on the structure of their beaks.  The color of this bird can be described as cinnamon brown which helps them to camouflage in their natural habitats. The head of this bird is grayish brown, while the tail is rusty brown and the throat region is white. The beaks of the bird are long slender so that they can easily pick insects from rock crevices.

The under parts of canyon wrens are chestnut and they have white and black tiny spots all over.

How cute are they?

Canyons Wrens are tiny birds when they are compared to other birds. This delicate aspect and sweet melody uttered by this bird makes it extremely cute.

How do they communicate?

This bird communicates with each other by singing. This small bird utters a loud hymn which can be commonly heard in the North American habitats of this bird especially during the breeding season.

How big is a canyon wren?

The size of a canyon wren is approximately 4.5-6.1 in (11.4-15.4 cm) and their wingspan is 7.1-7.9 in (18-20 cm). If we compare this species with other wrens, such as the winter wren or the rock wren which is approximately 3.1-4.7 in (7.8-11.9 cm), we can comprehend that they are all more or less the same size.

How fast can a canyon wren fly?

These birds of North America can map the surface handily and fly, but their exact speed is not stated.

How much does a canyon wren weigh?

The standard weight of a canyon wren is 0.3-0.7 oz (9.9-18.3 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for a male canyon wren or a female canyon wren.

What would you call a baby canyon wren?

The young birds right after hatching are known as hatchlings, much like any other baby bird .

What do they eat?

Their diet principally consists of insects and spiders which they find in the crevices of rocks with their beaks.

Are they dangerous?

A canyon wren is a small bird and is incapable of being dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

The habitats of these birds include canyons and rocky cliffs. These birds are found in wild where they can lead a free life, and so it is reasonable to confine them and keep them as a pet.

Did you know...

Canyon wrens are known as 'Cucarachero barranquero' in Spanish and 'Troglodyte des Canyons' in French.

Although the common habitat of these birds is around springs in desert regions, they are not known to drink water.

White throat swifts are frequently found nesting on the same rocky cliffs as canyon wrens and they have a hostile relationship.

Wrens are known for ruining the nests of other birds such as bluebirds and swallows, as well as pecking open eggs.

How many eggs do wrens usually lay?

A canyon wren lays around five to six eggs. The eggs are white with reddish-brown specks all over and have a width of 0.5-0.6 in (1.2-1.4 cm). Their incubation period is approximately 12 to 18 days.

Do wrens abandon their babies?

The nest is made by both male and female birds and the nest is commonly found in rock crevices. The nest is made of various things including barks, twigs, grass, mosses, and cobwebs. A female lays her eggs in the nest and the incubation period is generally 12 to 18 days. During this incubating period, male birds feed the female and after the eggs have hatched, the young birds are fed by both parents until they are able to forage on their own. The young hatchlings usually leave their nest after 15 days but remain in the close to their parents.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including eastern meadowlark or scrub jay.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Carolina wren coloring pages.



At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.

Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.

Sponsorship & Advertising Policy

Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.

We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.

Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.

Read our Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Get The Kidadl Newsletter

1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

Thank you! Your newsletter will be with you soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.
No items found.