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Cactus Wren

Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus

Cactus Wren, Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus, photo © by Michael Plagens

Photo taken in the Plomosa Mountains, La Paz Co., Arizona, USA. March 2009.

The State Bird of Arizona is one of the signature birds found in the Sonoran Desert. The boisterous raspy calls are unique. It is common in Upland Sonoran Scrub where there is more vegetation in the form of succulent cacti and shrubs. Low creosote deserts on other hand support very few Cactus Wrens, and then only along washes with desert trees.

Cactus Wrens build multiple nests but lay eggs in only one. This might be a strategy to confuse nest-robbing predators such as King Snakes. Nests are typically built within a heavily spined cactus. Wrens eat mostly spiders and insects that they extract from crevices. But Cactus Wrens will also eat fruit and even food scraps at picnic tables.

The loud, raspy call of the Cactus Wren is one of the most characteristic sounds of the Sonoran Desert.

Year-round Resident - Summer Breeder

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2012