Cactus Wren
(Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus)

Cactus Wren

Cactus wrens are one of the most well-known birds of the Southwest. In Utah, they are only found in the desert lowlands of Washington County. In the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, listen for their distinctive call while hiking in any lowland area, especially in the springtime. Some describe their call as the sound a car makes when it you turn the key but it won’t start.

As a desert adaptation, cactus wrens rarely drink freestanding water. Instead, they get all the liquids they need from their diet, consisting of insects and other small invertebrates gleaned from plants. They also eat some some seeds, berries, and fruit.

Both male and female cactus wrens build large, football-shaped nests with tunnel-shaped entrances. They often build their nests in cholla cacti for protection, but may also utilize a variety of other cacti, yucca (especially Joshua trees), and desert shrubs.

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