Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version


Document Type



Brogie, "Sighting of a Canyon Wren in Knox County, Nebraska," from Nebraska Bird Review (December 1992) 60(4).


Copyright 1992, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


The Canyon Wren (Catherpes mexicanus) is found in all states west of the Rocky Mountains; however, east of the Rockies it resides only in western Oklahoma, and in western and central Texas, with a separate population in the Black Hills of Wyoming and South Dakota. It has never been recorded in North Dakota or Kansas, or in any state whose entire boundaries lie east of the 100th meridian (DeSante and Pyle 1986). This species is almost entirely resident over its range, although a few most northerly populations depart in winter, and there are some altitudinal migrations to escape winter weather (Webster 1983).

Nebraska appears to be the only state outside the Canyon Wren breeding range with a record of the species. Johnsgard (1980) lists the species as accidental in Nebraska, with individuals having been seen on two occasions in Dawes County in recent years. Johnsgard states that Canyon Wren vagrants in Nebraska are to be expected, as the species is a permanent resident in the Black Hills. In bordering South Dakota, the species is an uncommon, but local, permanent resident in the Black Hills; however, there are no records of Canyon Wrens in other areas of this state (SDOU 1991).