Birds – The Eurasian Wren

Birds – The Eurasian Wren

The Eurasian Wren

The Eurasian Wren male

In this article we will see: “The Eurasian Wren”, birds, diverse and captivating, grace our skies with their melodies. From vibrant plumage to impressive flights, they captivate with endless wonders.

Birds – The Eurasian Wren

Brief Background

Description: Length: 9 cm; wingspan: 42-50 mm; overall length: approximately 14 cm; tail: 30-41 mm; beak: 13 mm. Weight: 9 g.

Appearance and Behaviour

Adults: Pale brown to reddish-brown upperparts, rich in shades and gradients; lighter underparts with dark horizontal bars on the belly and flanks; brownish beak and legs; black eyes crossed by a network of the same color.

Here is a bird that truly deserves and embodies its name: the Eurasian Wren, or “mignon” wren, troglodyte referring to its nesting habits in enclosed spaces, and “mignon” (cute) for multiple reasons. First and foremost, its tiny size, even Lilliputian, allows it to share the title of Europe’s smallest bird with the goldcrest. In fact, it appears as a small bundle of feathers perched on needle-like legs, with a stiff, relatively short tail that it proudly holds upright.

The head, carrying a thin and slightly curved beak, is relatively large, further accentuating its round silhouette. However, one could assign another descriptor to the Eurasian Wren besides “cute” because it has character. Firmly planted on its legs, expressing its feelings and emotions through vigorous tail movements and knee flexions, it might give the impression, if it weren’t so small, of a formidable wrestler awaiting a battle.

Despite being familiar, the Eurasian Wren does not appreciate being observed too closely and prefers to maintain the upper hand in all circumstances. If one persists in staring at it, it will stealthily escape from view, much like a mouse, to which it bears a resemblance in terms of size, color, and agility. However, this disappearance is not a panicked flight, as the bird soon reappears, sometimes even closer than before.

The Eurasian Wren

The Eurasian Wren female

Food

The Eurasian Wren’s diet consists mainly of insects and their larvae, with a few spiders added to the menu.

The Eurasian Wren's voice sample

Being lively and curious, the Eurasian Wren is attracted to sites with nooks, crevices, fissures, and various other interstices. Around houses, it frequents woodpiles, stacks of brushwood, brambles, old walls, old barns, and even old cars. In natural environments, its preferred habitats include cliffs, tangled vegetation and ivy, the edge of rice fields, and rocky chaos on beaches or mountains.

Although it often goes unnoticed, the Eurasian Wren is not shy about making its voice heard. Expressing its anxiety, the “tic…tic…tic…” alarm calls have nothing to do with the male’s song, which consists of vigorous and sustained strophes where short cries and high-pitched whistles rapidly succeed one another, all delivered in a matter of seconds.

Reproduction

As early as March, the males start building nests in anticipation of the upcoming breeding season. The most enthusiastic builders sometimes erect more than ten nests. These nests are ovoid balls, positioned vertically, made of moss or dead leaves, dry grass, and featuring a recessed side entrance.

Suspended at less than 2 meters above the ground, these nests, almost always invisible, blend perfectly with their support, whether it be a tree or a ivy-covered wall, a peat overhang, a step underneath, a tool shed, or a clump of shoots. The more well-built and secure nests a male constructs, the higher the chances of finding a mate for the season.

The Eurasian Wren's eggs

The Eurasian Wren’s eggs

Indeed, while the male suitors are busy constructing nests, the females visit each territory and inspect the accommodations offered by the male owners. Through song and gestures, the males never cease to extol the quality of their creations. If a female is dissatisfied or disappointed, she immediately seeks her fortune with a neighboring male who was probably expecting such an opportunity.

 However, if one of the constructions suits her and the suitor meets her standards, she remains in the territory, and the couple is formed. Without wasting any more time, the female transforms into a concerned mother, tending to her brood and diligently finishing the nest by lining it with feathers and down.

By mid-April, the die is cast. It is the time for the first clutches, each consisting of 5 to 6 eggs. The eggs have a white background with reddish-brown speckles and dots, although sometimes they can be immaculate. They have an average size of 12 x 16 mm and weigh about 1.3 g. Nestled in her nest, the female takes sole responsibility for the two-week incubation period and provides for her own sustenance, while the male, more excited than ever, resumes his vocal displays.

If another female appears, the serenade begins again, as many individuals have two mates, and some even have three. Abandoned by her mate, the mother feeds her young without any real paternal assistance. It is only when the fledglings leave the nest, approximately 15 days after hatching, that the male starts showing concern for his offspring. From one perch to another, the little troupe moves across the territory, receiving food and returning to one of the available nests, while the female prepares for a second clutch.

Migration

Eurasian Wrens are sedentary in regions where the winter conditions allow them to survive, such as the plains or low-altitude areas of central Europe. However, breeding populations from northern regions and mountains migrate southward or descend to valleys during the winter months.

Distribution

The Eurasian Wren breeds throughout Europe, with its range extending from southern Spain to the middle of Scandinavia and from Iceland to the Volga River. This bird, with three subspecies, is also found in North Africa and Turkey.

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A final word

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