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South Carolina State Bird – Carolina Wren

The Carolina Wren - Thryothorus ludovicianus - is a common species of wren, resident in the eastern half of the US, the extreme southern Ontario and Northeast Mexico. These birds are generally permanent residents throughout their range and defend territory year round.


It is second largest Wren in North America. The upperparts are rufous brown, and the underparts a strong orange-buff, usually unmarked but faintly barred on the flanks in the southwest of the range. The head has a striking pure white supercilium (eyebrow) and a whitish throat.


The Carolina Wren also has a series of calls, including a rapid series of descending notes in a similar timbre to its song, functioning as an alarm call, and a very harsh and loud scolding call made to threaten intruders. This bird is noted for its loud song, popularly rendered as "teakettle-teakettle-teakettle". Only the male birds sing their loud song. The songs vary regionally, with birds in northern areas singing more slowly than those in southern areas.


They eat insects, found in leaf litter or on tree trunks; they may also eat small lizards and tree frogs. In winter, they occasionally eat seeds, berries, and other small fruits. Insects and spiders make up the bulk of this wren’s diet. Common foods include caterpillars, moths, stick bugs, leafhoppers, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and cockroaches.


A pair bond may form between a male and a female at any time of the year, and the pair will stay together for life. Members of a pair stay together on their territory year-round, and forage and move around the territory together. These birds prefer sites with dense undergrowth, either in mixed forests or in wooded suburban settings, in a natural or artificial cavity. The nest is a bulky, often domed structure, with a small hole towards the top. Females typically lay between four to six eggs, up to three times per year. Eggs are oval, grayish-white and sprinkled with reddish-brown spots. Incubation is performed by the female only and lasts anywhere from 12–14 days, with the first young leaving the nest 12–14 days after hatching. Both the male and female feed the young.

Conservation Status – Least Concern

The Carolina Wren thrives over much of the eastern United States. Icy, snowy winters can abruptly reduce local populations, but they soon recover. In fact, the Carolina Wren has been pushing northward with rising average winter temperatures over the past century or so. The species has probably benefited from forest fragmentation in some areas and from reforestation in others—both processes create the tangled, shrubby habitat these birds use.


This shy bird can be hard to see. In summer it can seem that every patch of woods in the eastern United States rings with the rolling song of the Carolina Wren. Look, or listen for Carolina Wrens singing or calling from dense vegetation in wooded areas, especially in forest ravines and neighborhoods. These birds love to move low through tangled understory; they frequent backyard brush piles and areas choked with vines and bushes.

South Carolina Hotspots

Cape Romain International Reserve

Francis Beidler Forest and four holes swamp.....
Hilton Pond

ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge

Santee National Wildlife Refuge

Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge

Audubon Swamp Garden

South Carolina Preserves

Black River Swamp Preserve

Francis Beidler Forest

Peachtree Rock Preserve

Waccamaw River Preserve

Red Bluff Marsh Preserve

Cliffs at Glassy Preserve


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