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Cistothorus palustris - Marsh Wren
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Scientific Name: Cistothorus palustris
Authority: (Wilson, 1810)
English Common Name: Marsh Wren
Spanish Common Name(s): Chivirín Pantanero
Portuguese Common Name(s): None Known

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Class Order Family
Aves Passeriformes Troglodytidae

Taxonomic Comments: Formerly known as Long-billed Marsh-Wren. Placed in monotypic genus TELMATODYTES by many authors (AOU 1983). Composed of two groups which may represent separate species: PALUDICOLA of western North America (Western Marsh-Wren) and PALUSTRIS of eastern North America (Eastern Marsh-Wren) (Kroodsma 1989, AOU 1998). As yet not known if differences in song and plumage types are correlated, or if marsh wrens care about the song difference and what this means in terms of gene exchange (DeBenedictis, 1990, Birding 22:98-100).

Global Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern  
CITES Status: None

Freshwater and brackish marshes in cattails, tule, bulrush, and reeds (AOU 1983). Nests in marsh vegetation; female finishes one of several nests started by male; male may continue to build nests even after female begins incubation. Nesting success may be greatest in marshes with relatively dense vegetation and deep water (Leonard and Picman 1987).
Population Status

Distribution Status in Latin America

Native Mexico


  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1983. Check-list of North American Birds, 6th edition. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 877 pp.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, DC. 829 pp.

  • Balda, R. P., and G. C. Bateman. 1971. Flocking and annual cycle of the piñon jay, GYMNORHINUS CYANOCEPHALUS. Condor 73:287-302.

  • Bent, A.C. 1948. Life histories of North American nuthatches, wrens, thrashers, and their allies. U.S. National Museum Bulletin 195. Washington, DC.

  • BirdLife International. 2004. Threatened birds of the world 2004. CD ROM. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.

  • Harrison, C. 1978. A Field Guide to the Nests, Eggs and Nestlings of North American Birds. Collins, Cleveland, Ohio.

  • Harrison, H. H. 1979. A field guide to western birds' nests. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 279 pp.

  • Horn, H. S. 1968. The adaptive significance of colonial nesting in the Brewer's Blackbird. Ecology 49:682-694.

  • Kale, H. W. 1965. Ecology and bioenergetics of the long-billed marsh wren in Georgia salt marshes. Publ. of the Nuttall Ornithol. Club, No. 5. 142pp.

  • Kroodsma, D. E. 1989. Two North American song populations of the marsh wren reach distributional limits in the central Great Plains. Condor 91:332-340.

  • Leonard, M. L., and J. Picman. 1986. Why are nesting wrensand yellow-headed blackbirds spatially segregated? Auk 103:135-140.

  • Leonard, M. L., and J. Picman. 1987. Nesting success and habitat selection by marsh wrens. Auk 104:491-495.

  • Ligon, J. D. 1971. Late summer-autumnal breeding of the piñon jay in New Mexico. Condor 73:147-153.

  • Moore, W. S., and R. A. Dolbeer. 1989. The use of banding recovery data to estimate dispersal rates and gene flow in avian species: case studies in the Red-winged Blackbird and Common Grackle. Condor 91:242-253.

  • Parker III, T. A., D. F. Stotz, and J. W. Fitzpatrick. 1996. Ecological and distributional databases for neotropical birds. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

  • Poole, A. F. and F. B. Gill. 1992--. The birds of North America. The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. and The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley guide to birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

  • Tarvin, K. A., and G. E. Woolfenden. 1999. Blue Jay (CYANOCITTA CRISTATA). No. 469 IN A. Poole and F. Gill, editors. The birds of North America. The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. 32pp.

  • Terres, J. K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

  • Thompson, F. R., III. 1994. Temporal and spatial patterns of breeding brown-headed cowbirds in the midwestern United States. Auk 111:979-990.

  • Verner, J. 1965. Breeding biology of the long-billed marsh wren. Condor 67:6-30.

  • Verner, J., and G. H. Engelsen. 1970. Territories, multiple nest building, and polygyny in the long-billed marsh wren. Auk 87:557-567.

  • Williams, L. 1952. Breeding behavior of the Brewer blackbird. Condor 54:3-47.

  • Willson, M. F. 1966. Breeding ecology of the Yellow-headed Blackbird. Ecological Monographs 36:51-77.

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Overview Map
Note: indicates countries of occurrence, actual area occupied by the species is usually much less. Footnote - please click for information on permanent, temporary breeding, or non-breeding distribution of birds.

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West Caribbean Map
Species not known to occur in this region.

Summary Text |  Overview Map | West Caribbean Map  | East Caribbean Map | Range Map

East Caribbean Map
Species not known to occur in this region.

Footnote - please click for information on permanent, temporary breeding, or non-breeding distribution of birds.
NOTE: Maps for birds indicate countries where a species occurs either as a resident (permanent or temporary breeding or nonbreeding) or as a passage migrant. Not all records of vagrant or accidental occurrences in a country are included in the database.

Summary Text |  Overview Map |  West Caribbean Map  |  East Caribbean Map |  Range Map

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. A shapefile of this map is available for download at

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002

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Copyright 2008
Version 5.0 (10 April 2007)
Data last updated: April 2007
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