Merry Christmas from Sunny Arizona (34)
The Cactus Wren has been the state bird of Arizona since 1931; its presence and song are considered characteristic of southwestern deserts. The Cactus Wren is a permanent resident of arid and semi-arid desert regions of the southwestern United States, ranging from southern California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas, southward to central Mexico. This arid desert, dominated by cholla and other succulent cacti and spiny trees and shrubs, is characterized by high temperatures, low humidity, and scarce water. The Cactus Wren is generally found below 4,000 feet, although it is found at elevations up to 6,000 feet in areas of New Mexico. The Cactus Wren is not considered threatened or endangered though it is protected, along with all songbirds, by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Cactus Wren does well in urban areas planted with native species.
The largest North American Wren, the Cactus Wren is seven to eight inches long, has a long stripe of white feathers that look like eyebrows and a longer-than-usual tail which it does not normally cock up. Males and females are similar in size and markings and have long, pointed, slightly downcurved beaks and long legs. The Cactus Wren has a white belly with brown spots, and speckled brown, black, and white feathers on its back, wings, and head. It has black feathers on its throat and It has long legs and a long pointed beak. The wings and tail feathers are mostly black with white barring and the legs are dark. Juveniles resemble adults, but have fewer, lighter chest spots and a shorter tail.
The very active, curious Cactus Wren's unusual "chug-chug" call is one of the most conspicuous in the foothills. Even though they carry no melody or song-like quality, these territorial characters have a wide vocabulary using a "growl, scri, squal, buzz, tek, dzip, peep, buzz, and rack" to communicate. Quick to investigate any and all new items in their territory, you may find them making an in-depth inspection of your car, and if your car windows are down, checking out your car's interior. They enjoy harassing a pet cat or dog that enters their territory.