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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Carolina Wren

The Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) is a common species of wren resident in the eastern half of the USA, the extreme south of Ontario and Quebec, Canada, and the extreme northeast of Mexico. A very distinct population in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and Belize is treated either as a subspecies Thryothorus ludovicianus albinucha, or as a separate species, White-browed Wren Thryothorus albinucha. Following the review by Mann et al. (2006), these are the only forms remaining in the genus Thryothorus. This is the state bird for South Carolina.

It is a fairly large wren, of the US species, second largest after the Cactus Wren, typically 14 cm long and about 20 g weight. The upperparts are rufous brown, and the underparts a strong orange-buff, usually unmarked but faintly barred on the flanks in the southwest of the range. The head has a striking pure white supercilium (eyebrow) and a whitish throat. The race albinucha is duller brown above and has additional white streaking on the head.

It is easiest to confuse with the Bewick's Wren, a fairly close relative (Martínez Gómez et al. 2005), which differs in being smaller but with a longer tail, grayer-brown above and whiter below.

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