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Brown Creeper Certhia americana


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Brown Creeper
credit: Mdf/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Certhiidae, Creepers view all from this family

Description ADULT Has brownish upperparts heavily marked with pale teardrop spots on crown, face, and back; note the bold whitish supercilium. Short wings have buffy barring, and rump and base of tail are rufous. Underparts are whitish overall, with buff wash on flanks and undertail. Variation exists in precise hue of upperparts (ranging from grayish to rufous), even within the same regional populations. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but with faint barring on chest.

Dimensions Length: 5-5 3/4" (13-15 cm)

Habitat Widespread and fairly common in forest habitats; resident in parts of northeast, but northern birds migrate south for winter.

Observation Tips Outside breeding season, search roving mixed-species flocks and listen for its high, thin calls. Note, however, people who are hard of hearing may not be able to detect the notes.

Range Texas, New England, Western Canada, Southwest, Northwest, Alaska, Eastern Canada, Mid-Atlantic, Plains, Southeast, Rocky Mountains, Great Lakes, California, Florida

Voice Song is a series of tsee-see-see notes; call is a thin tsee, recalling that of Golden-crowned Kinglet.

Discussion Unmistakable woodland bird, whose well-marked brown plumage is a good match for tree bark. Feeds by climbing tree trunks in a mouselike manner, probing crevices for small invertebrates with its needlelike, downcurved bill. Spiky tail is used as support and bird typically works its way upwards from base of tree in a spiral manner, then drops to base of adjacent trunk to repeat the process. Sometimes joins roving mixed-species flocks outside the breeding season. Nests in natural crevices under loose tree bark. Several subspecies exist; those from east are described here. Sexes are similar.