Cactus Wren, Matraca Grande
About 7-8 3/4 inches (18-22 cm) long. This is a very large
brownish wren with very heavy spotting that gathers into a
cluster on the upper breast. There is a white stripe over the eye
and white spots on the outer tail. The beak is dark while the
legs and feet are tan colored (Peterson, 1990). The wings are
short and rounded (Leahy, 1982).
Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus inhabits deserts with
cholla cactus or yucca, mesquite, or other arid scrub bushes; it
also may be found trees in suburban arid locations (American
Ornithologists' Union, 1983).
This species is a resident from the southwestern United States
south to Central Mexico (Peterson, 1990).
The Cactus Wren is an active feeder who primarily eats insects
and other invertebrates. Small lizards and fruit in colder
seasons are also consumed (Leahy, 1982).
The nest is a large loose dome in cacti, trees, or shrubs that is lined with feathers, hair,
plant fibers, down, or other soft materials (Leahy, 1982). The female lays eggs that are
white to brown in color; they may be plain to heavily marbled with red-brown speckles
C. brunneicapillus is often referred to as bubbly with rather long and chaotic
songs (Leahy, 1982). The songs are composed of one pitch in a monotonous tone of
chuh-chuh-chuh-chuh, etc. Or chug-chug-chug-chug,etc., gaining in
rapidity (Peterson, 1990).
American Ornithologists' Union. 1983. Check-list of North
American birds, 6th ed. Allen Press, Lawrence, 877 pp.
Fisher, J. and R.T. Peterson. 1977. World of birds. Crescent
Books, New York, 191 pp.
Leahy, C. 1982. The birdwatcher's companion: an encyclopedic
handbook of North American birdlife. Hill and Wang, New York, 917
Peterson, R.T. 1990. A field guide to western birds. Houghton
Mifflin Company, Boston, 432 pp.
Mary Kirschenbaum, July 1996.