Eastern Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes hiemalis), Horton Creek, Gila County
This probable Eastern Winter Wren was found by Eric and Elaine Hough on 17 January 2009. It was 0.76 miles up Horton Creek from its confluence with Tonto Creek. It was in some brambles at the base of a pine just above the creek and was photographed by Eric Hough at the same time.
There is very good evidence that Winter Wren is two species and it is very
likely to be split into Pacific Wren (T. pacificus), the western form and
the form usually encountered in Arizona, and Winter Wren (T. troglodytes)
which encompasses the forms in eastern North America and the Palearctic.
here for more information. The status of Eastern Winter Wren in
Arizona is unclear. The only known previous report is of one photographed in the 1970's in Portal
that "probably represents" this form (Monson and Phillips 1981). Monson
and Phillips also state that the eastern form is expected in eastern Arizona but
the basis for this statement is not made clear. In anticipation of the
future split and to clarify the status of this form,
the Arizona Bird Committee recently elevated Eastern Winter Wren to a review
The two forms of Winter Wren are best separated by vocalization, but they do differ visually as well. This bird had a pale coloration on the throat and breast, which separates the eastern form from the darker western form. There were also white specks on its back and wings, a plumage feature that is more extensive on eastern birds. The bird was calling, but no recordings were obtained. The observers thought that it sounded more "chirpy" and did not have the tonal quality of the western form, which has been described as being similar to the dry chip of a warbler. See recordings in the AZFO Sound Library and compare with photos of a Pacific Wren here.
17 January 2009, photo by Eric HoughAll photos are copyrighted© by photographer
Submitted on 19 January 2009