South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Rock Wren

Salpinctes obsoletus

Length: 6 inches Wingspan: 9 inches Seasonality: Summer
ID Keys: Pale brown lightly speckled upperparts, white underparts with finely streaked breast, rust colored undertail coverts

Rock Wren - Salpinctes obsoletusThe Rock Wren is a pale wren of arid rocky slopes and canyons.  They have the odd habit of leaving a thin trail of pebbles leading to its nest in crevice or hole.  The Rock Wren can have an amazing array of songs.  Residents of arid habitats, Rock Wrens are not known to drink water, instead getting all required moisture through food items.

Habitat: Rocky slopes and outcrops, canyons, cliff walls, and reservoir rip-rap, usually in arid locations.

Diet: Mostly insects. 

Behavior: Forages on the ground, often probing cracks and openings with its bill.  Will also forage low in bushes or low trees.

Nesting: June and July

Breeding Map: Breeding bird survey map

Song: Rock Wren Song

Migration: Populations in the northern half of the western U.S. move southward in the fall.  Southwestern populations generally permanent residents. 

Similar Species: House Wren, Winter Wren, Canyon Wren

Conservation Status: Generally stable throughout its range, although some sources indicate a slight decline in recent decades.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Rock Wren

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Rock Wren"

3) eNature.com: Rock Wren

Photo Information: July 5th, 2010 -- Badlands National Park in South Dakota - Terry Sohl

 

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Rock Wren - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common migrant and summer resident in the western third of the state. Rare further east.