New York Natural Heritage Program
Sedge Wren
Cistothorus platensis (Latham, 1790)

Habitat [-]
Sedge Wrens occur in moist meadows with scattered low bushes, grass and sedge bogs as well as coastal brackish marshes where saltmeadow cordgrass (Spartina patens) is dominant. They may also use the upland margins of ponds. Breeding habitats have dispersed small shrubs and little, if any, standing water. Birds may abandon sites that become too wet or too dry. Sedge Wrens nest in dense, tall grass and sedge clumps or hummocks, 2-12" above ground or water level (Bull 1974). Occasionally, they may nest on the ground, in a small bush, or at the base of a small tree (Herkert et al. 2001).

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • Boreal heath barrens
    A dwarf shrubland or shrub-savanna dominated by heath or heath-like shrubs. Boreal heath barrens occur on nearly level outwash plains of the Adirondacks, in frost pockets lying in valleys.
  • Dwarf shrub bog
    A wetland usually fed by rainwater or mineral-poor groundwater and dominated by short, evergreen shrubs and peat mosses. The surface of the peatland is usually hummocky, with shrubs more common on the hummocks and peat moss throughout. The water in the bog is usually nutrient-poor and acidic.
  • Great Lakes dunes
    A community dominated by grasses and shrubs that occurs on active and stabilized sand dunes along the shores of the Great Lakes. Unstable dunes are sparsely vegetated, whereas the vegetation of stable dunes is more dense, and can eventually become forested.
  • Inland salt marsh
    A wetland that occurs on saline mudflats associated with inland salt springs. The mucky substrate is permanently saturated and seasonally flooded. Plant cover is sparse and the number of different kinds of plants is relatively low.
  • Medium fen
    A wetland fed by water from springs and seeps. These waters are slightly acidic (pH values generally range from 4.5 to 6.5) and contain some dissolved minerals. Plant remains in these fens do not decompose rapidly and thus the plants in these fens usually grow on older, undecomposed plant parts of woody material, grasses, and mosses.
  • Rich sloping fen
    A small, gently sloping wetland that occurs in a shallow depression on a slope composed of calcareous glacial deposits. Sloping fens are fed by small springs or groundwater seepage. Like other rich fens, their water sources have high concentrations of minerals and high pH values, generally from 6.0 to 7.8. They often have water flowing at the surface in small channels or rivulets.
  • Shallow emergent marsh
    A marsh meadow community that occurs on soils that are permanently saturated and seasonally flooded. This marsh is better drained than a deep emergent marsh; water depths may range from 6 in to 3.3 ft (15 cm to 1 m) during flood stages, but the water level usually drops by mid to late summer and the soil is exposed during an average year.
  • Successional old field
    A meadow dominated by forbs and grasses that occurs on sites that have been cleared and plowed (for farming or development), and then abandoned or only occasionally mowed.

Associated Species [-]
  • Henslow's Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii)
  • Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum)
  • Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
  • Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)
  • Dickcissel (Spiza americana)