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The little “king of birds”

The adorable little Cobb’s wren, Troglodytes cobbi, is one of only two birds endemic to the Falkland Islands. On some islands it is highly susceptible to predation by introduced rats, cats and mice. In 2001 it was estimated that only 6,000 pairs remained on 29 islands. It is considered likely that introduced mammalian predators have wiped out entire population on some islands. Rat eradications programs are underway on some islands and the program is considered a necessity for the long term survival of this little bird.

Juvenile begging

Cobb’s wren juvenile begging, image Discovery planet

On predator-free islands in the Falklands it can be heard singing from clumps of tussock grass or atop bright yellow gorse. Premium habitats for these little wrens are the boulder beaches bordered by tall tussock grass. In such habitats they can be seen alternating between searching for insects around boulders and amongst dead kelp and hunting for small invertebrates in the tall tussock grass.

Known in mythology as “the king of birds” when it hitched a ride on the back of an eagle, the closely related European wrens have a strong place in British folklore.

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