The Wrentit is a small, 15 cm (5.9 in) bird with uniform dull olive, brown, or grayish plumage. It has short wings and a long tail often held high (hence the comparison to wrens). It has a short bill and a pale iris. Given its retiring nature and loud voice, the Wrentit is more likely to be detected by its call than by sight.

Habitat and Distribution

The Wrentit is a non-migratory resident of a narrow strip of coastal habitat in the western coast of North America, being found from Oregon south through California, to Baja California, the north state of the Baja California peninsula. It is usually restricted to certain chaparral and woodland habitats.


The Wrentit feeds by skulking through dense scrub gleaning exposed insects found by sight. It feeds primarily on beetles,bugs, caterpillars and ants, but also takes small berries and seeds.


Wrentits mate for life, forming pair bonds only a few months after hatching. The bird nests in 1 metre high shrubs such as poison oak, coyote bush, and California blackberry. Three or four eggs are laid , then incubated for 14 days, by both sexes. The chicks fledge after 15 days and are fed by their parents for another 40 days.

Calls and Songs

Both sexes sing, but the male has a faster rhythm. Its call is similar to a ping pong ball falling on the table.