My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Brown Creeper, Certhia americana

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 upper parts 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 stiff tail used for support as the bird creeps upwards much as do woodpeckers.

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 hop in quick, short motions, with their body flattened against the bark, probing with their beak for insects. They will rarely feed on the ground. They mainly eat small insects and spiders found in the bark, but sometimes they will eat seeds in winter.

These little buggers have given me fits over the years, trying to capture a good photo of them. They never sit still, they are small, and they are so well camouflaged that in most of the photos of them that I have taken, it is difficult to pick the creepers out from the bark of the tree that they were on. They also seem to prefer the shady side of the tree when I point a camera at them.

Then, just as I was beginning this series, one of them slipped up, and let me get these shots of it.

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

You can see how they use their long (for a small bird) forked tail for support, and their curved bills to probe for food.

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

This is number 15 in my photo life list, only 335 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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8 responses

  1. That bird really does blend well enough so that someone who is color blind would never see it. Nice shots!

    January 29, 2013 at 6:15 am

    • They have such perfect camouflage that it doesn’t matter if you’re colorblind or not, they are darned hard to see!

      January 29, 2013 at 10:20 am

  2. Kim

    Hey, you got some good shots of the little guy! I snapped a bunch of shots of a Brown Creeper about two weeks ago but he was moving so fast that most of them are blurry. Definitely a challenge to get good pictures of these adorable little guys, but it’s fun trying.

    January 29, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    • Thank you. It’s funny that after years of trying, I got a few good ones just after I began my photo life list

      January 30, 2013 at 1:53 am

  3. Oh you have great creeper shots ! I have exactly one photo and it’s all blended into the tree. Great capture.

    January 29, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    • Thank you! I have (had) many as you describe, they’ve been deleted.

      January 30, 2013 at 1:54 am

  4. I like these birds- though they are indeed hard to photograph!

    February 1, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    • One reference guide I checked to make sure I had my facts straight stated that they creep slowly as the hunt for insects. Obviously, who ever wrote that never watched the ones around where I live!

      February 2, 2013 at 1:42 am