U.S. State Bird of South Carolina -
Carolina Wren

The Carolina Wren is a common bird of the woods and small towns of the Southern States, but breeds as far north as New England and Wisconsin and as far west as Kansas.

Carolina Wren

This noisy, active, chunky little bird can be seen and heard year round in the underbrush.

  • Official South Carolina State Bird: Carolina Wren
  • American Ornithologists' Union Common Name: Carolina Wren
  • Family: Troglodytidae, Wrens
  • Scientific Name: Thryothorus ludovicianus
  • Length: 5.5" (14 cm)
  • Diet: Insects, invertebrates, small vertebrates, few seeds.
  • Voice: Song extremely varied; a rolling chant of rich phrases tea-kettle tea-kettle tea-kettle or TWEE pudo TWEE pudo TWEEP and other variations. Along, buzzing chatter sometimes given with song. Calls generally richer than other wrens: a harsh, complaining zhwee zhwee zhwee...; a descending, musical trill; a low, solid dip or didip.
  • Habitat: Common in the concealing underbrush of moist woodlands and swamps, wood suburbs, gardens, towns.
  • Number of broods: 2 in the North, often 3 in the South.
  • Nest: In natural holes, also amid roots of upturned tree, in variety of other cavities and brush piles. They will also nest in nest boxes or bird houses and hanging plant baskets.
    My personal favorite nest was built in the mouth of a 9 lb flounder skeleton my Grandfather had nailed onto the side of his barn. Nest consists of twigs, bark strips, leaves, grass and is lined with fine materials.
  • Eggs: Averages 4-8 white eggs, often pinkish or creamy, usually heavily flecked with browns, purple, often wreathed; 0.8" (19 mm).
  • Incubation period: 12-14 days
  • Fledge: 12-14 days after hatching
  • Longevity Record: 7 Years and 8 months - with the record coming from a banded Carolina Wren that was recaptured and released alive in 2004 in Florida - (data from the USGS Bird Banding Lab)

Carolina Wren Song

The next two videos (same video), but cued to two different sounding Carolina Wren songs to show the variation in the song. These birds are in the same area, but like people, birds have different "accents" and different ways of "speaking". The differences in songs are larger in different parts of the country. If the first bird is singing "tea-kettle tea-kettle tea-kettle", the second bird is singing "kettle-tea kettle-tea kettle-tea".

Carolina Wren Nest

This next video is long, but is very good. Also a good example of how wrens will nest in boxes, baskets and planters near our houses.

At about 1:30 on the video, the female brings a large moth, which the young have a little trouble swallowing until she mashes it up a few times for them. We know this is the female because we can hear the male singing nearby as she is feeding the young. One of the adults returns again at 4:48 and 6:09.

At 14:15, an adult feeds the chicks again and then removes a fecal sac. The young wait "to go" until the parents are there to remove the fecal sacs. This behavior helps keep the nest clean and reduces odor so predators have a hard time finding the nest.


Prior to 1939 "The Carolina Wren" had been unofficially recognized as the State Bird of South Carolina. In 1939 the General Assembly passed an Act (No.311) designating the Mockingbird as the official Bird of the State. Act No. 693, 1948 (1962 Civil Code, Sec.28-2) was passed repealing the 1939 Act and designating the Carolina Wren as the official South Carolina State Bird instead of the Mockingbird.

Contrary to popular opinion, the South Carolina Gamecock is not the Official State Bird of South Carolina.

Birds of the South

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