Wrens all look alike. There are clear distinctions between wrens and all other birds (i.e., that upright tail) but once one delves into the world of wrens it is their similarities that dominate. A few extra dots here, or a slightly stubbier or longer tail are the only morphological features that can be used to identify specific wren species. Luckily, there are environmental cues and therefore we present a rock wren on a rock, a marsh wren in a marsh, and a house wren, well, near his house. The remaining wrens we require are the Pacific wren, sedge wren, and canyon wren (and we know where to look!).
What can we know from the family name Troglodytiae? The term troglodyte refers to a hermit or cave-dweller (in a non-pejorative sense) or to an individual who is deliberately ignorant. Surely in this case the name comes from the wren’s tendency to forage for insects in dark, hidden places rather than to some personality flaw.
Wrens, despite their diminutive size, are known as the king of birds in parts of Europe. According to myth, birds were ranked according to how high they could fly and the eagle was the presumptive winner. But then, a small wren who had been hiding in the wing of the eagle, sprang forth above the eagle’s head to win the crown. They are still known as winterkoninkje in Dutch, which means “little winter kings.” Wrens are also celebrated at the Feast of St. Stephen in Ireland but for a somewhat infamous reason: while St. Stephen was attempting to hide from his enemies in a bush, a noisy wren gave him away. Troglodytes indeed.
**UPDATE April 21, 2017, we've added the winter wren bringing us to 57.1%.