Wren, the name commonly applied to the diminutive tenuirostral birds of the creeper family and genus troglodytes (Vieill.); they come near the dentirostral birds, and by some have been placed by the side of the goldencrested warbler or kinglet (regulus cristatus, Ray), also itself called wren. In the wrens the tarsi are long and slender; the toes long, the outer longer than the inner, the latter being free; bill slightly curved, with tip entire; wings short and rounded, the fourth to sixth quills equal and longest; tail short, rounded, and usually erect. There are about 50 species in various parts of the globe, of which one of the best known is the common European or kitty wren (T. parvulus, Koch). It is 4 in. long, reddish brown above, barred with dusky and white spots on the wings, and yellowish white below. It is very lively, frequenting gardens and hedges, and flitting from bush to bush with a direct flight, in search of insects, seeds, and fruits; the males in spring and summer have a loud sweet song.

The nests are begun early in April, in holes and crevices of walls, banks, and roofs of thatch, among climbing plants or on branches of trees, and are composed principally of hay and moss, lined with feathers; they are comparatively large, oval, domed above, with the opening at the end or on the side; the eggs are 6 to 10, and even 16, and incubation lasts 10 days, the males feeding the females, and both very attentive to the young; two broods are raised in a season. It is a permanent resident all over Europe, most abundant in the north. - Of the North American true wrens, the largest is the great Carolina (tkryothorus Ludovicianus, Bonap.), 6 in. long and 8¼ in. in alar extent; it is reddish brown above, brightest on the rump, the wings and tail barred with darker; throat and streak over eyes whitish; lower parts pale yellowish rusty with under tail coverts barred with black. It is found as far north as Pennsylvania, west to Missouri, and south to Texas; it is very lively, and fond of the vicinity of water.

Many are destroyed by minks and weasels; the eggs are 5 to 8, broad oval, grayish white with reddish brown spots; two or three broods are reared in a season. - The best known species is the house wren (troglodytes oedon, Vieill.), 5 by 6½ in.; it is reddish brown above, barred with dusky, and pale fulvous white below with a light brownish tinge across the breast. It is found in the eastern United States to Missouri; it is much more familiar than the European wren, and a far superior songster; it builds near nouses, in boxes prepared for it, and sometimes in strange places, as in unused carriages, or the sleeve of a coat forgotten in an outhouse; the males are very pugnacious, and have a special antipathy to cats, the martin, bluebird, and swallows; the eggs are five or six, pale reddish, and two broods are raised in a season. - There are several other allied genera in western South America, Asia, and Africa. The lyre bird belongs to the group of wrens. (See Lyre Bird).

Kitty Wren (Troglodytes parvulus).

Kitty Wren (Troglodytes parvulus).

House Wren (Troglodytes sedon).

House Wren (Troglodytes sedon).