Cactus Wrens

The Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) is the state bird of Arizona. It forms permanent pair bonds, and the pairs defend a territory where they live all through the year.


The Cactus Wren is the largest North American wren, measuring 18-23 cm (7-9 inches) in length.

It has white eyestripes, a brown head, barred wings and tail, and spotted tail feathers.

It has a slightly curved bill.

Males and females look alike.

Identification Tips:

  • Length: 6.5 inches
  • Long, slightly decurved bill
  • Bold white supercilium (line above eye) contrasting with dark and eyeline
  • White throat
  • Upper breast densely spotted with black
  • Underparts white becoming buffy toward tail and spotted
  • Upperparts grayish-brown with black and white streaks and spots
  • Long tail barred with black and white
  • Dark legs
  • Sexes similar
  • Similar species: Thrashers are somewhat similar but are larger and lack the white supercilium (line above eye) and dense spotting on the breast.
Cactus Wren
Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren - from the side

Distribution / Habitat:

The Cactus Wren is native to the south-western United States southwards to central Mexico.

It inhabits arid regions, and is often found around yucca, mesquite or saguaro.


It nests in cactus plants, sometimes in a hole in a saguaro.


It mainly eats insects, though it will occasionally take seeds or fruits. It rarely drinks water, getting its moisture from its food.