Getting to Know the Cactus Wren: Arizona’s State Bird

The Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) is the largest member of the wren family and is the state bird of Arizona. The name “cactus” comes from its habitat – it is often found near cacti, hence its name. It is a plump bird with a long tail that is often seen perched on top of a cactus. It is also known for its loud, distinctive call which sounds like “cack-cack-cack”.

The cactus wren is found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. In the United States, it is found in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and California. In Mexico, it is found in Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon. The cactus wren is not migratory and will stay in its territory year-round.

Why Is the Cactus Wren the State Bird for Arizona?


The reasoning behind this choice is twofold. First, the cactus wren is found throughout the state of Arizona. Second, its unique song is a source of enjoyment for many people who live in Arizona. According to the Tucson Audubon Society, the cactus wren was chosen as the state bird because it is “a true son of Arizona”.

When Did the Cactus Wren Become the State Bird for Arizona?

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On March 16, 1931, the Cactus Wren was officially adopted as the state bird for Arizona, led by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. The GFWC recommended the Cactus Wren as the state bird because it was “peculiar to the state,” meaning that it was not found anywhere else in the world. The GFWC also felt that the bird represented the “can-do” spirit of Arizona and its residents.

What Does the State Bird of Arizona Look Like?

wren state bird

The males and females of cactus wren look similar. A small bird is brown and white with white streaks on its wings and a black tail. It has a long, curved beak that it uses to feed on insects and small lizards.

The adult cactus wren has a long tail that is often held upright and shows a prominent white eye-ring. The back and wings are barred with black and buff, while the underparts are pale buff or whitish. There is some variation in plumage across the range, with birds in western populations being paler overall than those in the east. Juveniles have duller plumage and a shorter tail.

How Big Is a Cactus Wren?

cactus wren

The cactus wren is the largest in North America, measuring 18–21 cm (7.1–8.3 in) from bill to tail and weighing 42–61 g (1.5–2.2 oz). It is slightly larger than the Eurasian house wren.

How Do These Birds Behave?


The cactus wren is not a very shy bird. It’s been known to build its nests in areas near human activity, like backyards and patios. These birds are also known for their loud and persistent calls, which can be heard day or night. While they generally stay close to the ground, they have been known to fly into trees and bushes.

Cactus wrens are social birds that often live in small groups or pairs. However, they will also associate with other bird species, including finches, sparrows, and doves. These birds are not migratory, so they can be found in Arizona all year long.

What Is Most Unusual About the Cactus Wren?


The cactus wren is well-known for its distinctive call. This bird is also unique in its nesting habits; instead of using twigs and grasses to build its nest, the cactus wren uses bits of cactus. The female cactus wren builds the nest by herself, using up to 1,000 prickly spines per nest! This is one tough bird!

What Is the Relationship Between Cactus and Cactus Wren?

cactus wren bird

Commensalism is the relationship between two organisms in which one organism benefits while the other neither benefits nor is harmed. This type of relationship is often seen between a small animal and a larger one, where the small animal lives on the larger one for shelter or protection.

One example of commensalism is the relationship between cactus and cactus wren. The wrens build their nests in the cactus and use the plant for shelter and protection from predators. The cacti are not harmed by this relationship and may even benefit from the added warmth of the nesting material.

How Do You Attract Cactus Wrens?

cactus bird

If you’re looking to attract cactus wrens to your yard, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure you have plenty of cacti and other desert plants, as these birds love to nest in them. You should also put out food and water for the wrens, as they’ll appreciate it. Lastly, avoid using pesticides and herbicides in your yard, as they can be harmful to these birds. With a little effort, you can attract cactus wrens to your yard and enjoy their company.

How Do Cactus Wren Adapt to the Desert?

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The cactus wren is a small bird that lives in the deserts of North America. These tough little birds have to deal with extreme heat and very little water. So how do they do it?

For one, they have adapted to be able to get most of the water they need from the food they eat. They also have a special type of kidney that helps them conserve water. And they can go without drinking water for long periods.

The cactus wren also has adapted to the heat in a few ways. One is by having lighter-colored feathers. This helps reflect some of the heat away from their body. They also have a higher number of blood vessels in their skin. This helps them to lose heat more easily.

Final Thoughts

The cactus wren is an interesting bird that has adapted to life in the desert. These hardy birds can survive in extreme heat and with very little water. If you’re looking to attract them to your yard, make sure you have plenty of cacti and other desert plants. With a little effort, you can enjoy the company of these birds in your backyard.

Thanks for reading! I hope you found this article interesting and informative. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Until next time, happy birding!

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