GALLERIES > BIRDS > PASSERIFORMES > CERTHIIDAE > BROWN CREEPER [Certhia americana]
Location: Madera Canyon, AZGPS: 31.7N, -110.9W, elev=4,953' MAP
Date: November 10, 2007
ID : 6907 [3888 x 2592]
The Brown Creeper (Certhia americana), also known as the American Tree Creeper, is a small songbird, the only North American member of the treecreeper family Certhiidae.
Adults are brown on the upperparts with light spotting, resembling a piece of tree bark, with white underparts. They have a long thin bill with a slight downward curve and a long tail. The Brown creeper is 11.7-13.5 cm long (4.6-5.3 in).
Their breeding habitat is mature forests, especially conifers, in Canada, Alaska and the northeastern and western United States. They are permanent residents through much of their range; many northern birds migrate further south to the United States.
They forage on tree trunks and branches, typically spiraling upwards from the bottom of a tree trunk, and then flying down to the bottom of another tree. They creep slowly with their body flattened against the bark, probing with their beak for insects. They will rarely feed on the ground. They mainly eat small arthropods found in the bark, but sometimes they will eat seeds in winter.
Breeding season typically begins in April. The female will make a partial cup nest either under a piece of bark partially detached from the tree, or in a tree cavity. It will lay 3-7 eggs, and incubation lasts approximately two weeks. Both of the parents help feed the chicks.
The song is a short series of high-pitched sees.
As a migratory species with a northern range, this species is a conceivable vagrant to western Europe. However, it is intermediate in its characteristics between Common Treecreeper and Short-toed Treecreeper, and has sometimes in the past been considered a subspecies of the former, although its closest relative seems to be the latter (Tietze et al., 2006).
Since the two European treecreepers are themselves among the most difficult species on that continent to distinguish from each other, a Brown Creeper would probably not even be suspected, other than on a treeless western island, and would be difficult to verify even then.
Brown Creeper has occurred as a vagrant to Bermuda And Central America's mountains in Guatemala, Honduras and the northern cordillera of El Salvador.