Certhia americana


As its name implies, the Brown Creeper forages by "creeping" along tree trunks, in an upward spiral, picking invertebrates from the bark with its pointed bill. Like woodpeckers, the creeper uses its long tail to prop itself against the tree while climbing. Eventually, the bird will fly down to the base of another tree and begin climbing again. When threatened, the creeper will camouflage itself by spreading its wings, pressing itself against the tree, and remaining motionless for up to several minutes. The brown and white mottled pattern of its upperparts makes the bird nearly invisible against the tree trunk. To me this has to be one of the hardest birds to photograph. It never sits still and blends in with the tree.


Brown upperparts with white spots and streaks. White underparts. Broad white supercilium. Thin, down-curved bill. Rust-colored rump and fairly long tail. Sexes similar. 5 to 6 inches in length.


Coniferous, deciduous, and mixed woodlands.


5-6 white eggs with brown speckles. The eggs have a 14-17 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in 13-16 days. The nest is a cup of bark shreds, feathers, sticks, and moss, built between a tree trunk and a loosened or peeling piece of bark. In Arizona, Brown Creeper nests have two holes, one on top (the exit) and one on the bottom (the entrance).

Observed Locations:

  • Palomar Mountain State Park
  • William Heise County Park, Julian

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