Short-toed Tree-Creeper (Certhia brachydactyla)

Short-toed Tree-Creeper

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Certhiidae | [latin] Certhia brachydactyla | [UK] Short-toed Tree-Creeper | [FR] Grimpereau des jardins | [DE] Garten-Baumlaufer | [ES] Agateador Comun | [NL] Boomkruiper


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range

Physical charateristics

The Shot-Toed Tree-Creeper is a small bird with a mottled brown back that blends in well with tree bark. It has a white breast and a white belly that fades to tan toward the vent. It has a pale eye-line and a bold, buff band across each wing that can be seen from above and below in flight. Its rump is reddish brown and its tail long and stiff. The Tree-Creeper’s bill is thin and curved.
Tree-Creepers spend most of their time on main trunks or major limbs, bracing themselves with their tails like miniature woodpeckers. These inconspicuous and quiet birds are easy to overlook as they spiral up the trunk of a tree, probing into bark crevices with their narrow, curved bills. After a Creeper gets to the top of a tree, it flies down to the bottom of the next tree to start over.

Listen to the sound of Short-toed Tree-Creeper

[audio: Tree-Creeper.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 18 cm wingspan max.: 21 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 14 cm
incubation min.: 13 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 15 days fledging max.: 15 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 5  
      eggs max.: 7  


Eurasia : West, also Northwest Africa


Short-Toed Tree-Creepers prefer mature, moist, coniferous forests or mixed coniferous/deciduous forests. They are found in drier forests as well. While they generally nest in hardwoods, firs are preferred for foraging.


Nests are occasionally built in cavities, but for the most part they are tucked into crevices in tree trunks where the bark has separated from the trunk. Males defend their nesting territories by singing, and may chase females around trees during courtship. Nests are found at varying heights and in various shapes, usually filling the available crevice. Nests are generally cups made of twigs, bark strips, moss, and leaves, with soft linings. The male helps provide material, but the female generally builds the nest and incubates 5 to 6 eggs for 14 to 17 days. The male and female both feed the nestlings, which leave the nest 13 to 16 days after hatching.

Feeding habits

Creepers eat insects, spiders and their eggs, and pupae that they find hidden in bark crevices. They eat some seeds and will come to suet feeders.


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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to 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.
Certhia brachydactyla is a widespread resident across much of central and southern
Europe, which constitutes >75% of its global range. Its European breeding population
is very large (>2,700,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although the
trend of the Spanish population during 1990-2000 was unknown, the other key
population-in France-increased, and trends were stable or increasing across most
of the rest of its European range
Short-toed Tree-Creeper status Least Concern


Resident with high confidence to birth and breeding site.

Distribution map

Short-toed Tree-Creeper distribution range map

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