Nearly double the size of other wrens, this species has a bulky build with a long broad tail and heavy bill. The upperparts are gray-brown with white streaks on the back and black and white barring on the wings and tail. The head shows a reddish brown crown and a bold white supercilium. The throat and breast are white with heavy black spotting on the throat turning to heavy streaking on the lower breast. White transitions to cinnamon-buff on the belly with more sparse dark spotting. Inland populations show a more dense concentration of black spots on the upper breast. The seriously endangered population along the southern California coast has more extensive white on the underparts with less dense and more even spotting. Fresh out of the nest juveniles have a plain throat with reduced spotting and streaking below. Pale barring on the folded flight feathers is buffy rather than whitish.
Length: 18 (cm) Wingspan: 27 (cm)
Song is a monotonous series of chugging notes: chur chur chur chur chur chur chur.
Cactus and brush flats, riparian corridors, coastal chapparal and palms.
Builds large domed nest for breeding and several "dummy nests" within territory. Does not hold tail upright like other wrens.
Forages on the ground for insects, rarely small reptiles and amphibians. Also takes fruit.
Expanded Life History
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