Bird Database

Brown Creeper

(Certhia americana)

State of the Birds
At a Glance



Short distance




Predation, Collisions

Conservation Actions

Maintain unfragmented forest blocks, Maintain a bird-friendly yard

Brown Creeper

(Certhia americana)

Brown Creepers are superbly adapted to a life spent on the trunks of trees. Not only is their streaky brown plumage near perfect camouflage, but they also have several structural features that aid them in this foraging niche. Their claws are long and curved to give them a better grip on bark, their bill thin and curved to reach prey in crevices, and their tail is stiffened like that of a woodpecker to provide support as they climb about. They even hide their nests under loose flaps of bark. If you’re watching a creeper spiral its way up a tree and it suddenly disappears – and this happens during the nesting season – there’s a good chance the bird slipped behind the bark to its nest.

Even the Brown Creeper’s high-pitched song has a connection to trees: a common mnemonic describes it as “tree trees beautiful trees.” They sometimes start singing in mid-winter on warm days as daylight begins to increase but become quieter after the breeding season. Creepers also have a short call note that is even higher pitched and extremely difficult to localize. This is usually used as a contact call between individuals, particularly during foraging, so if you hear one creeper there could easily be a second or third nearby.

Although creepers are found in New Hampshire all year, the species is partially migratory. It is likely that the birds we see here during the winter are a mix of those that didn’t leave and those that moved in from farther north, and without more data it is impossible to know the portions of these two groups. Like many other short-distance migrant forest birds, the species is increasing, albeit with some fluctuation. Creepers have probably benefitted from the more extensive forest cover in the Northeast and should continue to prosper as long as there are large trees with loose bark.

Seasonal Abundance

Relative abundance based on eBird data. Numbers indicate likelihood of finding this species in suitable habitat at a given time of year, not actual numbers encountered.

Brown Creeper
Range Map

Information for the species profiles on this website was compiled from a combination of the sources listed below.

  • The Birds of New Hampshire. By Allan R. Keith and Robert B. Fox. 2013. Memoirs of the Nuttall Ornithological club No. 19.

  • Atlas of the Breeding Birds of New Hampshire. Carol R. Foss, ed. 1994. Arcadia Publishing Company and Audubon Society of New Hampshire

  • Birds of the World. Various authors and dates. Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

  • Data from the Breeding Bird Survey

  • Data from the Christmas Bird Count