English and Scientific names:

Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus)

Number of individuals: 

1 adult in basic/alternate

Locality: LOUISIANA: 


Specific Locality:

Hervey Dairy Farm near Stonewall

Date(s) when observed:


Time(s) of day when observed:  


Reporting observer and address:

James L. Ingold

Department of Biological Sciences
Louisiana State University
One University Place
Shreveport LA 71115

Other observers who independently identified the bird

Hubert Hervey

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird

Paul Dickson showed me the bird and then left.


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

Good light with sun at my back early and in the shade of a ravine and trees when the sun was to my front

Optical equipment: 

Celestron Regals 10x40

Distance to bird(s): 

10 to 50 feet

Duration of observation:

Approximately 45 minutes


On the sides of a newly dug farm pond with only a bit of water in the bottom.  It also worked the grass at the top of the pond and eventually worked its way to the west side of the farm pond at the bottom of the dam in a slight ravine.  The west side of the dam and the ravine were adjacent to a water filled farm pond with trees near where the bird was seen.


Behavior of bird: 

The bird spent most of the time walking/hopping around the sides of the pond or the adjacent ravine. It flew short distances a few times.  The observation ended when it flew up and into a small tree beside the functional pond.


It seemed to flick its wings when it hopped.



The bird was smaller than an Eastern Phoebe that landed beside it (with in 16 inches).  It had a long slightly decurved bill.  A thin black stripe went through the eye and there was a wider light buff/grayish eye stripe above the black line.


The upper surfaces were a dark gray that appeared to have a fine barring.  The underparts, especially the breast were a dingy white/gray with fine streaks.  The flanks were a darker color of buff than any of the buff color seen elsewhere on the bird.  I never saw the tail well when the bird flew nor did I see it spread out.  I did have a very good look at the tail from my vantage point above the bird while I stood on the dam.  The tail was long, with gray and buff barring.  The barring being more distinct near the tip of the tail.  The tail was rounded on its end with buffy spots visible.


The wings were slightly darker than the body except at the tips where they seemed to be a more brownish color (may have been due to dust).  The wings were also barred with the barring wider near the tips of the folded wing.


The legs were a dark gray.




Similar species:

Carolina Wren/Bewick's Wren are eliminated by the lack of a dark brown underparts (Carolina only) and the buffy not bright white eye stripe (both Carolina & Bewicks).

The presence of the fine breast streaking on the bird in question eliminates both of the above species as well as the Canyon Wren.

Color, size and leg color eliminate: House, Winter, Sedge and Marsh Wrens

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

Digital photos and video were taken by Ingold using a Nikon Coolpix 990

Previous experience with this species: 

I have seen Rock Wrens before but its been a very long time.

Identification aids:

at time of observation:  None
after observation:  Golden Guide, Sibley, internet images

This description is written from: 

Notes taken at the time of the observation

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




Jim Ingold

Date and time: 

10/20/2005; 3:25 p.m.