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Cactus Wren II

Cactus  Wren  II
Photo Information
Copyright: Luis Leal (Luis52) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-02-10
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D80, 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF Nikkor
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/200 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-02-15 9:12
Viewed: 3387
Points: 70
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus)
By Tracy D. McCarthey, Nongame Biologist

Scientific Name:
The genus Campylorhynchus is derived from Greek words meaning curved beak. The specific epithet is derived from the Latin brunneus meaning brown and capillus meaning hair, in reference to the wren's brown cap and back.

Largest wren in United States; 7-9 inches long. Both sexes with dull, rusty crown, streaked back, heavily spotted breast, tawny-colored sides and belly; wing and tail feathers barred black and white (showing a white tail band in flight); conspicuous broad white stripe over eye. No differences between breeding and nonbreeding plumage. The tail is not usually held cocked as in most other wrens. Juveniles resemble adults but have lighter, smaller chest spots and shorter tails. The song is a low raspy cha cha cha cha cha, very reminiscent of a car's engine trying to turn over on a cold winter day.

Desert areas with taller cacti (especially cholla), or arid hillsides and valleys with other thorny plants capable of supporting their bulky nests. The cactus wren is abundant below 4,000 feet in Arizona, but has been found up to 6,000 feet in New Mexico.

Ranges from southern California, southern Nevada, southwest Utah, central New Mexico, and central and southern Texas to central Mexico. Year-round resident in southern, western, and central Arizona in deserts with thorny vegetation.

The cactus wren is an active, inquisitive, and adaptable bird found commonly in most Arizona deserts, making it an appropriate choice for the state bird. The female selects the nest site; the nest is often placed in cholla, but also in other cacti and thorny trees and shrubs such as mesquite, ironwood, paloverde, and catclaw acacia. Both the male and female build the nest.

The cactus wren's nest is a large, conspicuous, spherical structure usually built with dry grasses and annual plants; strips of discarded paper and cloth found along roadsides are frequently woven in. A long, narrow-sided passage into an internal chamber, as well as the thorny substrate, protects this nest from most predators, although eggs and nestlings are frequently taken by coachwhips and whipsnakes in Arizona. As with most wren nests, the nest chamber is usually lined with feathers. In Arizona, Gambel's quail feathers seem to make up the bulk of the lining (a related species, the masked bobwhite, was once thought to be extinct but was rediscovered in Sonora, Mexico, a few decades ago after biologists found its feathers in cactus wren nests and began searching for it). The female cactus wren incubates, starting with the first egg, while the male builds a new nest in preparation for a second clutch. Additional nest structures are constructed and used as roosts throughout the year. The roost nests often lack the feather lining.

During wet winters, breeding season begins as early as late February, allowing time for double and sometimes triple broods. A young cactus wren takes 16 days to hatch and another 19-23 days to fledge; it will remain dependent on the parents for food for approximately 30 days after leaving the nest.

A cactus wren often forages for food by overturning moveable objects on the ground with its large curved bill, capturing creatures hiding underneath. Its diet includes ants, beetles, grasshoppers, wasps, fruits, seeds, and an occasional treefrog or lizard.


CeltickRanger, Islander_, nglen, matatur, warnzy, eqshannon, Juyona, jaycee, Alex99, Necipp, Adanac, fiyo, izler, MMM, mvdisco, Argus has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To demeve: GraciasLuis52 1 02-15 14:38
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Critiques [Translate]

Hola Luis,
I always enjoy to see your posting each time, becuase it's so real and natural!
the exposure and focus is always good with sharpness and fine details on the subject!
this is another good one and many thanks for sharing with a good notes
muchais gracias
Saludos su familia

hello Luis

another of your beautiful shot of the wren this time
with a different POV to show us from his back
the excellent details of his plumage, TFS


Hi Luis,

I like this photo too, but compared to the first one the pose is less attractive and the branch at right takes even more place. Still, this picture is very good from all points of view, well done! Thank you,


Hola Luis,
splendid shot very well composed, great focus with many beautifull details on plumage and wonderfull colours,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-02-15 10:06]

Hi Luis. Such a good close up of the Wren, your sharp focusing has given fine detail and natural looking colours. a fine pose on the small branch .with a nice POV/DOF. well done TFS. good notes too.
have a good weekend.

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-02-15 10:15]

Hi Luis,
I will be back in a moment.

  • Great 
  • Zeno Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 483 W: 0 N: 1345] (10867)
  • [2008-02-15 10:50]

Hi Luis,

This is a great shot. You blurred the background very well and I like the pose of this wren. Its much bigger than the wren we know in Holland.

TFS and regards,

Hola Luis,
Que lindo pajarito, muy nien tomado y focalisado
me gusta mucho los detalles y su postura.. felicitaciones


excelent shot nice photo

  • matatur Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1054 W: 245 N: 1626] (5312)
  • [2008-02-15 13:18]

Hola Amigo,
Another perfect capture of this fine wren from a unique POV my friend, the choice of a perfect DOF permitted a very fine definition of the bird while leaving the BG totally OOF. An exquisite capture Luis.
Best Regards,

Hi Luis,

Your wrens look very different to our wrens. This is a really stunning shot, full of detail. The pov is perfect, as it the composition and dof. I wish I had shots like this one in my gallery!


This is another really sharp image Luis. I like the colors though the whole image looks a bit undersaturated on my monitor. The arc and lines of the composition are really nice.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-02-15 14:01]

Hello Luis, your picture of the Wren is awesome, the pose, the composition, the exposure and the sharpness are perfectly done, thanks!


  • Great 
  • lizzie Gold Star Critiquer [C: 207 W: 0 N: 605] (2855)
  • [2008-02-15 14:15]

Hi Luis,

Lovely capture of the wren, this time we can appreciate his beautiful plumage from the back. Beautiful natural colours in a nice point of view. Thanks for sharing!


  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-02-15 15:03]

Hi Luis

Lovely pose and great detail.



Sorry this is short - on hotel interent in Madeira

Hello Luis,
Beautiful is certainly one of your keywords here.
Excellent depth of field, pose, perch and so forth.

hello luis,
lovely capture of the cactus wren, the oof bg looks great, pleasing colours, nice pov, well compose dshot, the details of the plumage is good,
well done,
tfs & regards

Your bird images seem at times to be among your best...and this one is no different. A fine image with proper notes and such. Good earth tones. I tend to like earth tones as they are easier to work with than too many colours. That I leave to the experts in India...like Sumon and Pankaj..those guys can make colours into a live circus performance...but you do so well with your earth tones...


Great capture of the cactus wren,
The detail and framing are right on,
Great job,


Eres un maestro Luis. Estas últimas tomas tuyas son geniales. Has captado el ave en toda su longitud en foco, y ademas con un enfoque milimétrico. A destacar la belleza del juego de colores de toda la toma y por supuesto, un ojo fuera de lo común . Encuadre de libro. No soy pelotas ( así le llamos aquí a adular gratuitamente ) pero creo que es una toma excecional por su buena realización.
Abrazo: J. Ignasi

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-02-16 5:33]

Hola amigo,
otro precioso trabajo,
y delicado bg,
hermoso foco y perfecta nitidez,
saludos Luis & familia


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-02-16 9:05]

Hi Luis,

Another wonderful Cactus Wren. Lovely natural colors - good details - lovely pose - perfect background to blend with the bird and the tree.


Hi Luis,
I love the brown on brown composition. It makes the photo very restfull to the eye. Your composition is very good, with the bird nicely looking into the space of the photo. The dark red of the eye stands out nicely from the rest of the bird. The photo is razor sharp, and the DOF is spot on.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-02-16 12:34]

Hi Luis.
Superb shot of the bird. Pictured scene, composition and framing are perfect as ell as the sharpness and detaisl of the bird, its cute pose and blurriness and colorfulness of the BG. Well done and best regards.

Hello Luis, dof is perfect, sharp from tip of the beak to tip of the feathers. V. nicely achieved, the detail is really superb and the focus on the eye is just spot on. V. nicely composed with the branches coming towards the bottom right corner and good spacing with the bird. tfs Rgds Necip

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-02-16 15:24]

Hello Luis

Another excellent view of this cactus wren.
Wonderful POV and DOF.The OOF BG is beautiful.
The warm lighting and colours are lovely.
Nicely composed in the frame.


  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-02-16 16:46]

Hola Luis,
My friend your images are always first class in my books, but your bird images are always the cream of the crop. This is amazing Luis.

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2008-02-16 23:21]

Hello Luis,
a very beautiful shot indeed. Very nice and composition. I like the blurred bg too. Great moment.TFS

Hello Luis
This is a superb capture...You have caught this wonderful wren sharp from the tip of his tail to the point of his beak and all points in between.
Lovely natural pov and very good background.
Tfs and Best regards

  • Great 
  • izler Gold Star Critiquer [C: 1387 W: 3 N: 9] (44)
  • [2008-02-18 9:49]

hello Luis
here is wonderful capture of this cute wren
composition, point of view, blurred background, lighting, colours, sharpness, details and note are great
thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2008-02-18 11:08]

Hello Luis
Nice presentatioon.Good POV and very sharp image.Detail from the plumage is excellent.Nice text also.
TFS Michel

Hi Luis,
Beautiful picture nicly composed and presented with great colors and sharpness, Excellent point of view and nice notes , lovely details and showing on back is very nice too,
well done..

Hi Luis,
I see that we are posting a similar subject. I wonder why these Wren don't have their tail up like ours always have... Anyway, this is a very sharp and beautiful capture with superb background, details and exposure. Well done!

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-02-19 9:38]

Hola Sr. Luis,
Another extraordinary shot of this fascinating bird, the Cactus Wren. I like the POV and the sharpness, details, composition and BG are perfect.
Thanks for sharing this fine image,
Un abrazo fraternal,

I got a shot of one these guys just the other day. Unfortunately it did not turn out as well as yours. I like the frame created by the tree. DOF and focus are spot on as well. Well done.

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