English and Scientific names:

Rock Wren, Salpinctes obsoletus

Number of individuals: 

1 sex and age not known. 

Locality: LOUISIANA: 

Stonewall, LA, DeSoto Parish,

Specific Locality:

4 miles NE of Stonewall, off Missile Base Rd. at the farm of Hubert Hervey.

Date(s) when observed:

18 Oct 2005

Time(s) of day when observed:  

3;45- 4;15 PM, 5:00 to 5:30 PM

Reporting observer and address:

Hubert Hervey,

Stonewall, LA

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird

Pat Hervey, Paul Dickson

Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

Excellent viewing conditions, full sun, coming from behind the observers.

Optical equipment: 

Nikon 8 X 40 new, Swift 8 X 40 Ultralite, both in excellent condition.

Distance to bird(s): 

30 to 200 feet

Duration of observation:

One hour, it was gone the next morning


A newly dug pond with large chunks of dry clay, red, orange, yellow and gray, with two small pools of water at the very bottom of the 15 foot hole in the ground.  Rough terrain with plenty of hiding spots.

Behavior of bird: 

The bird would hide behind a dirt clump, then perch up on top of it, then walk to another spot, or fly, moving from behind dirt lines to open areas.  It panted like I have observed juvenile birds of many species do, but I can't say it was a juvenile.  Twice it tried to clean its bill by rubbing it back and forth on a clump of dirt repeatedly.  It did not respond to pishing, but moved away from voices.  It did not keep its tail cocked up like most wrens.


The overall impression was of a gray bird, with light underparts, very gray top side with lots of small whitish spots, fine dark streaks on a whitish breast, tawny (about the color of a titmous' flanks) flanks reaching to near the tail coverts, tail coverts were streaked with lateral dark lines, head - grayish, with a long decurved bill, with a fine superciliary, wings - finely barred dark and light gray, tail - fairly long with finely barred dark and light gray with a buffy-brownish colored area at the corners of the tail visible upon landing but not visible when standing, legs - long and dark gray, about 6 inches long overall


Not heard

Similar species:

I considered pipits, but the bird did not bob, open habitat wrong for Spragues, decurved bill wrong.  Considered all other wrens, light belly and superciliary eliminated Canyon Wren. Had a Bewick's the next day, and the clean white breast, very long tail with white and black at corner which it flirts, eliminates it. 

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Photo taken by Hubert Hervey.

Previous experience with this species: 

Have seen in the Texas hill country, and in SE Arizona many times on guided tour with Jon Dunn.

Identification aids:

at time of observation:
Sibley Guide to Western US, NG Guide to Birds of NA, 
after observation:

Birds of Texas by Rappole and Blacklock, Peterson (western), Lowery (not there)

This description is written from: 

From memory and verbal record of observation made at the time.

Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 


100 percent


Hubert Hervey

Date and time: 

20 Oct 2005