The canyon wren (Catherpes mexicanus) is one of the best songsters of the west. It is usually heard before it is seen.


This bird is a dark rusty wren. It has a long curved bill. This bird is about 14.5 cm (5.75 inches) long.


This bird ranges from far southern British Columbia and Montana south through much of Mexico to western Chiapas and east to Oklahoma and Texas.


The canyon wren mainly eats insects and spiders. They feed on a variety of insects, including termites, ants, beetles, leafhoppers, and others. Usually, they forage by hopping about in rock piles, up and down faces of steep rocky cliffs, or through dense undergrowth. This wren likes to be sheltered while foraging, and under rocks or in crevices. It uses its long bill to search for food in deep crevices. Sometimes it steals spiders from the nest of a predatory wasp.


This wren usually nests in a hole in a rocky cliff, among rock piles, or on a ledge in a cave. Sometimes it is in crevices in stone buildings, sheds, or a hollow stump. The nest is built by both sexes, and is made of twigs, grass, moss, leaves, spider webs, plant down, animal hair, and feathers. They usually lay 5 eggs. The eggs are white, and lightly dotted with reddish brown. The female canyon wren incubates the clutch for 12-18 days.

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