Skip to main content - The Official Portal for North Dakota State Government
Sedge Wren

Sedge Wren

Fact Sheet
Scientific Name Cistothorus platensis
General Description Brown body, short, stiff tail, streaked back, and orange-buff rump.
Body length 4.5 inches
Wing span 5.5 inches
Weight 0.32 ounces
Habitat/Nesting habitat Sedge wrens prefer tall, dense vegetation of grasses and sedges in wet meadows, CRP, DNC, hayfields, the edges of wetlands, and lightly grazed pasture. In wet years, use upland grasslands which may include big bluestem, Indiangrass, reed canary grass or switchgrass. May be less common during dry years but will use wet meadows during those times. Sedge wrens prefer large areas of contiguous grassland habitat and typically avoid cropland and woody cover. Nest located in dense growth of sedges or tall grasses and is a woven ball of fine grasses or sedges about 10-90 cm above the ground.
Breeding season Peak breeding season occurs from mid-June to early August.
Status in North Dakota Fairly common. Present in North Dakota from May to mid-October.
Food habits Primary food includes insects and spiders.
Conservation Issues
Habitat Destruction and/or degradation of grassland and wetlands, including expiration of CRP grassland will negatively affect sedge wren populations. It has been predicted if all CRP in North Dakota were converted to cropland, the number of sedge wrens would be reduced by about 25%. Sedge wrens avoid recently burned prairie, but may be found using the area later in the year. Grazing, mowing, and haying eliminate the tall vegetation needed, thereby negatively affecting their presence. Deemed woodland-sensitive, increased woodland cover negatively affects this species. Occurrence declines with increasing tall shrub (greater than 1m) cover.
Other natural or manmade factors No known records of brood parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds. Sedge wrens are known to experience fatal collisions with towers.