Devon Wildlife Trust A slim, tit-sized bird, the treecreeper has a long, pointed tail and a fine, downwards-curved bill. Treecreepers climb up trees in a spiral around the trunk, feeding on insects and spiders that they find in crevices in the bark. They have long, curved toes that help them cling to the bark, and really stiff tail feathers that they can push against the tree for extra support.

They are residents in the UK, leaving their breeding territories in autumn, but usually going no further than a few kilometres. In autumn and winter, treecreepers often join flocks of tits, roaming woodlands and parks for food.

How to Identify

The treecreeper is white below and mottled brown above, helping it camouflage against the bark of trees. It has a white eyestripe and a long, downcurved bill. 


RSPB The treecreeper is small, very active, bird that lives in trees. It has a long, slender, downcurved bill. It is speckly brown above and mainly white below. It breeds in the UK and is resident here. Birds leave their breeding territories in autumn but most range no further than 20 km. Its population is mainly stable. 


Devon Birds: Search the Devon Birds website for recent sightings of Treecreepers in Devon. 


Treecreeper near Rock Hill, Chulmleigh (Photo Grant Sherman)


Wikipedia: The Eurasian treecreeper or common treecreeper (Certhia familiaris) is a small passerine bird also known in the British Isles, where it is the only living member of its genus, simply as treecreeper. It is similar to other treecreepers, and has a curved bill, patterned brown upperparts, whitish underparts, and long stiff tail feathers which help it creep up tree trunks. It can be most easily distinguished from the similar short-toed treecreeper, which shares much of its European range, by its different song.

The Eurasian treecreeper has nine or more subspecies which breed in different parts of its range in the Palearctic. This species is found in woodlands of all kinds, but where it overlaps with the short-toed treecreeper in western Europe it is more likely to be found in coniferous forests or at higher altitudes. It nests in tree crevices or behind bark flakes, and favours introduced giant sequoia as nest sites where they are available. The female typically lays five or six pink-speckled white eggs in the lined nest, but eggs and chicks are vulnerable to attack by woodpeckers and mammals, including squirrels.

The Eurasian treecreeper is insectivorous and climbs up tree trunks like a mouse, to search for insects which it picks from crevices in the bark with its fine curved bill. It then flies to the base of another tree with a distinctive erratic flight. This bird is solitary in winter, but may form communal roosts in cold weather. 


National Biodiveristy Network Certhia familiaris

The NBN Atlas is a collaborative project that aggregates biodiversity data from multiple sources and makes it available and usable online. It is the UK’s largest collection of freely available biodiversity data.

Currently Eurasian treecreepers are abundant and not considered a vulnerable species. However, they are extremely sensitive to forest fragmentation because they rely on mature forests for foraging and breeding. Deforestation also alters the birds' vegetation and climate conditions. 


eBird: Fairly common but inconspicuous (plumage blends well with bark) in woods, forests, and gardens with larger trees. Usually seen as singles or pairs, creeping along trunks and branches using its tail for support, like a mini-woodpecker. Probes in crevices for insects and spiders, and often spirals up then drops to low on the next tree and spirals up again. In areas where Short-toed Treecreeper also occurs, the two species are often not safely distinguished without considerable experience. 

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