Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)
Family: Troglodytidae (Wrens)
Photo, E.T. Jones, Copyright ©1998 The Provincial Museum of Alberta - Use for Profit requires fee.
- 11 - 14 cm long with a 13 - 18 cm wingspread. Sexes alike.
- Small, agile birds, with upper parts streaked, spotted or striped with various shades of black, grey, white or brown. Under parts whitish.
- Slender, sharp-pointed bills, slightly down-curved.
- Identified from other wrens by conspicuous white stripes within a black triangle on its back, and white eyebrow stripes.
- Often perch with tail cocked.
Locally abundant in southern and central Manitoba, among reeds and cattails in freshwater marshes and swamps during the breeding season. They breed from southern B.C. to Nova Scotia throughout the southern and central regions of most provinces, and across most of the northern U.S. They overwinter in the southern U.S. and Mexico. Resident populations may be found along the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the U.S.
Manitoba Museum Collections:
The Manitoba Museum holds 2 skins, 1 nest and 1 egg specimen of the Marsh Wren, collected within the province of Manitoba. The Museum also has 39 nesting records from around the province, dating back to 1924. These records range from May 30, when several nests were discovered among marsh vegetation, to July 24, when 4 feathered young were discovered in their nest. Regions in Manitoba where nesting activity has been documented are indicated on the map provided.
- Marsh Wrens breed in Manitoba beginning in April or May. Males may have a number of mates, each of which builds her own nest. The male may also build a few incomplete "dummy" nests which he may use as roosts. Locating a nest with eggs or young in it may therefore be quite difficult, which may explain another purpose of the "dummy" nests. The nest is a large, oblong or football-shaped structure with a side-opening, usually taller than wide, and is attached to cattails or reeds. It is constructed of woven cattails, reeds, sedges and grasses, and is lined with finer plant materials and feathers. The female usually lays 5 - 6 pale brown eggs, speckled with dark brown. She incubates for 13 - 16 days beginning after the 3rd or 4th egg has been laid. The young are usually tended by the female alone, but the male may assist in feeding the older young. They can fly 13 - 16 days after hatching, but may be fed by the male for an additional 7 days while the female re-nests.
Manitoba Status Rank and Conservation Issues:
- Secure - Manitoba Conservation Data Centre, 1996 report.
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