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Troglodytes troglodytes hirtensis
1.3 picograms (1,271 Mb)
A stem amniote (animals which lay eggs on land, or keep them inside the mother), possibly a diadectomorph - reptile-like amphibians. Birds and humans are separated by over 320 million years of evolution. The early mammals which gave rise to humans were small and shrew-like. Birds, of course, descend from the dinosaurs. In fact, scientists now use 'non-avian dinosaur' to refer to dinosaurs and 'avian dinosaur' to refer to birds.
I should be sequenced because...: We can help scientists learn more about how species evolve and survive on islands
One sentence about me...: An island bird with a big voice and an even bigger personality
I’m related to the wrens you can see all over the UK, bobbing and flitting about the underbrush. If you’re not sure what a wren looks like, think of a brown bird around the size and shape of a golf ball. We can be hard to see because we don’t come out in the open very often. We’re easier to spot in the spring when we sing to attract mates and tell other wrens whose territory is whose. We wrens are very active, but then we have to be – we have a fast metabolism and lose weight very quickly, so we need to keep looking for food to survive.
We St. Kilda wrens are a bit different to wrens from the rest of the UK. We look similar, and we eat similar things, but we’re a bit bigger than the others. This sometimes happens on islands – a small species can get bigger over time. Because we’ve been isolated and there aren’t many of us here, we can help scientists understand lots of things about island species, such as why we got bigger, how we survive with low numbers, how resistant we are to disease, etc. They can also compare us to other wrens and try to identify important differences.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Energetic, loud, charming
What's it like where you live?
I live on an island off the coast of Scotland. It's a bit windy and we get a lot of rain, but the summers are cool and the winters are mild.
What's your favourite food?
What's your family life like?
I spend quite a bit of time on my own, though it does get busy and noisy when there are young chicks around.
Are you endangered or threatened by anything?
Because I live on an island and there aren't many of us left, we're vulnerable to extreme weather events and diseases
What's the best thing about you/interesting fact?
Despite being one of the smallest birds in the UK, I have a very powerful voice
The champion of this species is...
Dr. Anthony Caravaggi