The name comes directly from the name of a type of bird. Its English name is from the Anglo-Saxon wrenna, which is of uncertain meaning.
The bird was often referred to as the King of Birds in Medieval Folklore and it was considered bad luck to cause any harm to the nests.
In Ireland, Wren’s Day (December 26, St. Stephen’s Day), is celebrated by parading a fake wren on a pole. The Celebration most likely has pagan Celtic roots, but according to Christian legend the wren exposed the hiding spot of St. Stephen before he was stoned to death.
As a female name, it seems to have a modern feel, but records indicate that she has been in use since the 17th-century.
The name is often listed as unisex on many baby name sites, but its usage as a male name throughout history is actually sporadic and was rarely used for males. Its earliest usage as a male name is recorded around the 18th-century, probably used in honour of the surname of the same meaning.
In the United States, Wren first entered the U.S. Top 1000 in 2013 and has risen in popularity each year since then. In 2016, Wren was the 524th most popular female name in the United States. The name has yet to make an entry in the U.S. Top 1000 Most Popular Male Names. In England/Wales the name ranks even higher, coming in as the 334th most popular female name (2016).
Another form is Wrenna. A common affectionate form is Wrenny.