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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

St. Lucia Wren (Troglodytes aedon mesoleucus)

By Janice Mathurin-Poleon

The St. Lucia Wren is considered an endemic subspecies of the House Wren (Troglodytes aedon). It is the rarest of the remaining Lesser Antillean House Wrens and can be found as a common resident in Dominica, locally in lowlands of Grenada and uncommonly in St. Vincent.

The St. Lucia Wren locally known as rossignol is a small, active brown bird with black bars on its wings and tail, an indistinct pale stripe above the eye with a relatively large head. St. Lucia’s subspecies is slightly paler below than that of St. Vincent and Dominica. Rossignol has a moderately long tail which it sometimes cocks upwards in the manner typical of wrens. It is 11.5-13cm (4.5-5 in) in length and this species has a rich, loud bubbling song like other wrens. There is a distinct variation in the dialect between the St. Lucia race and that of the other islands.

This bird can be found in the northeast coast of St. Lucia and Gros Piton. It feeds mainly on insects but will eat small lizards. The female lays two to six whitish eggs, heavily speckled brownish-red during the breeding season May to August.

The wren is an endangered species which faces many threats especially that of habitat loss. Its population decline is also related to predation by rats and mongooses as well as brood parasitism by the shiny cowbird.
The need for conservation and protection of our endangered species can never be overemphasized.