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Pacific Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes pacificus), Upper Madera Canyon, Santa Cruz County

This Winter Wren was found and photographed by Laurens Halsey along the Carrie Nation Trail in Madera Canyon on 18 November 2008. This individual appears to be of the "Pacific" subspecies group and possibly of the T. troglodytes pacificus subspecies - see discussion below.

Winter Wrens are rare and local winter visitors occurring mainly in lower mountain canyons and riparian areas with thick underbrush and at least some water. The Western form is a Sketch Details form for Arizona, whereas the Eastern form is a Review form. There is accumulating evidence that these are separate species and they are good candidates for a future split.  They differ in plumage, song and especially the call notes. Since they call frequently in winter, this may be the best way to separate them in Arizona. 

The stubby tail, distinct supercilium, thin mostly dark bill, and overall uniform rufous-brown coloration separate this bird from the more common House Wren (also size). The overall rufous-brown plumage without a whitish throat separate this bird from the Eastern form of Winter Wren. The throat and breast of this bird are rufous-brown, indicating T. t. pacificus. Other subspecies (T.t.salebrosus) of the Western form should show paler brownish throat and breast.

18 November 2008, photo by Laurens Halsey

All photos copyrightę by the photographer

Submitted on 18 November 2008

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