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Wrens in Ireland


The wren is one of Ireland's smallest birds. They are stocky, birds that constantly moving or twitching. Wrens are readily recognised by their rich brown plumage and short cocked tail which they flick repeatedly.

The have dark barred upperparts and flanks and have a pale white/yellow-ish eyebrow. The underparts are paler with grey barring. The bill is brown and the legs are flesh-brown. Young wrens are similar to adults however the eyebrow may not be as pronounced as this becomes more obvious when the gain their adult plumage.

They usually only fly short distances in a steady straight line with rapid wing beats.

Irish Name for Wren

The Irish word for wren is Dreoilín.

Wren Feeding

A wren's diet is largely based upon insects and spiders. They are particularly partial to beetles hence the reason that they usually feed close to the ground.

Wrens there relatively long bill to probe into nooks and crannies on the ground. This may explain their Latin name Troglodytes which means cave dweller.

Wrens Nesting

Wren eggs

A wren's nest is made from grass, moss and leaves. The male builds the main globe-shaped nest in a tree, ivy, bush, wall, bank, or an open-fronted nest boxes. He will build a number of nests from which the female chooses one. When she makes her choice she completes the nest construction by feathering the inside.

Wren eggs are white with rust-coloured spots, and are glossy. The female incubates the eggs however the young are fed by both parents.

Wrens also use nest boxes for winter roosting where more than 50 have been recorded huddling together for warmth.

Wren Day

Wren day also known as Wren's day, Hunt the Wren Day or The Hunting of the Wrens is celebrated in Ireland on 26 December, St. Stephen's Day. The tradition, thought to of Celtic origin, now consists of hunting a fake wren, and placing it on top of a decorated pole. Then the crowds of mummers or strawboys celebrate the wren by dressing up in masks, straw suits and colourful clothing and parading through towns and villages. These crowds are sometimes referred to as wrenboys.

As late as the mid-20th century a real live bird was hunted by the wrenboys. The captured wren was tied, alive, to the wrenboy leader's staff pole. Over time the live bird was replaced with a fake one.


Scientific Name: Troglodytes troglodytes



Irish Status:

Length: 10cm Wingspan: 15cm Weight: M/F: 10g

Call: : Very vocal all year. Song is a protracted series of trilling notes - shrill, loud finishing abruptly. Calls also include an abrupt "tic tic tic" or more prolonged "churrrrr" .

Habitat: Forest, woodland, urban, undergrowth

Diet: Insects, especially beetles, and spiders.

April - June
Breeding Age:
From 1 year
Number of Eggs:
No. of Clutches:
Incubation (days):
Fledging (days):
2 years

Conservation Status in Ireland: GREEN


Wren Range in Ireland

The wren is a permanent resident and is widespread and common throughout Ireland.

Map of the range of Wrens in Ireland.

Arctic Terns in Ireland - Blue Tits in Ireland - Coal Tits in Ireland - Goldfinches in Ireland - Great Tits in Ireland - Grey Herons in Ireland - Jackdaws in Ireland - Longtailed Tits in Ireland - Magpies in Ireland - Mallards in Ireland - Mistle Thrushes in Ireland - Mute Swans in Ireland - Pheasants in Ireland - Puffins in Ireland - Robins in Ireland - Rooks in Ireland - Song Thrushes in Ireland - Starlings in Ireland - Swallows in Ireland - Swans in Tallaght - Swans Oil-Damaged - Waxwings in Ireland - Woodpigeons in Ireland - Wrens in Ireland

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