Small wren, sexes alike. Upperparts rusty brown with a grayish head and back, having varying amounts of white spotting dorsally. The lower face, throat, and upper breast white. The belly chestnut, with varying amount of black and white speckling. Bright rusty rufous tail barred with black, with no terminal black band. Head dorsoventrally flattened, with a long, slender, slightly decurved bill. Distinguished from Rock Wren by a white breast, contrasting sharply with the lower belly (Jones and Dieni 1995).
For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.
Western Hemisphere Range
Few terrestrial birds are as restricted to rocky cliffs or outcrops as this one. Limited to cliffs, steep-sided canyons, rocky outcrops, and boulder piles, usually in arid regions. Inhabits the same territories year-round (Jones and Dieni 1995).
Uses its long, decurved bill and flattened head to probe for spiders and insects in rock crevices (Jones and Dieni 1995).
Nests in sheltered rock crevices, rock caverns, cliffs, or banks; some nests attached by a stick and twig base to rock faces in caves or crevices. Eggs are ovate in shape, pure, clear white in color with fine dots of reddish brown (sometimes very faint). Clutch size usually 5 (Jones and Dieni 1995). Egg dates are probably similar to those for Colorado: May 8 to July 10.