Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)

Brown Creeper

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Certhiidae | [latin] Certhia americana | [UK] Brown Creeper | [FR] Grimpereau brun | [DE] Anden-Baumlaufer | [ES] Trepador americano | [NL] Amerikaanse Boomkruiper


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Certhia americana NA, MA widespread
Certhia americana alascensis
Certhia americana albescens
Certhia americana alticola
Certhia americana americana
Certhia americana extima
Certhia americana guerrerensis
Certhia americana jaliscensis
Certhia americana leucosticta
Certhia americana montana
Certhia americana nigrescens
Certhia americana occidentalis
Certhia americana pernigra
Certhia americana phillipsi
Certhia americana stewarti
Certhia americana zelotes

Physical charateristics

A very small, slim, camouflaged tree-climber. Brown above, white below, with a slender decurved bill and a stiff tail, which is braced during climbing. Ascends trees spirally from the base, hugging the bark closely.

wingspan min.: 17 cm wingspan max.: 20 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 14 cm
incubation min.: 13 days incubation max.: 17 days
fledging min.: 15 days fledging max.: 17 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 7  


North America, Middle America : widespread


Woodlands, groves, shade trees.
Breeds in mature forest, either coniferous or deciduous, with many large trees, ranging from mountain pine woods to lowland swamp forest. In migration, may be found in any habitat with at least a few good-sized trees, even suburbs or city parks.


Male defends nesting territory by singing. In courtship, male may perform rapid twisting flight among trees; may pursue female in the air and around tree trunks.
Usual nest site is behind a large strip of bark still attached to a tree; occasionally in cavity in tree. May be at any height from very low to 50′ or more above ground. In typical sites, nest is a shallow half-cup, closely fitting the available space be
hind the bark slab. Nest (built by female, with male bringing some material) is made of twigs, bark strips, moss, leaves, lined with finer materials.
Eggs: 5-6, sometimes 4-8. Whitish, dotted with reddish brown. Incubation is by female, about 14-17 days. Male may feed female during incubation.
Young: Both parents bring food for nestlings. Young leave nest about 13-16 days after hatching.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects.
Feeds on a wide variety of insects, especially insect eggs and pupae hidden in bark; also weevils and other beetles, true bugs, leafhoppers, scale insects, aphids, caterpillars, ants, and many others. Also feeds on spiders and pseudoscorpions. Eats some
seeds, and will feed on suet or peanut butter mixtures.
Behavior: Does almost all foraging on trunk and limbs of trees, climbing slowly with tail braced against surface, examining bark visually and probing in crevices. Occasionally forages on ground or snow.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Brown Creeper status Least Concern


Southern Alaska, Canada to Nicaragua.
b Migration: May migrate in small flocks. In many areas, migration peaks in April and in late September to early October.

Distribution map

Brown Creeper distribution range map

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