Certhia familiaris (Linnaeus, 1758)
Family: Passeriformes > Certhiidae
Creeping up the bark of a tree in search of food, the Treecreeper’s cryptic brown, white and yellow-gold plumage gives it the perfect camouflage.
Treecreepers need mature trees in which to search the bark's nooks, crannies and fissures for invertebrate food. They begin searching for food low down on a tree, working their way up before fluttering back down to the lower part of a nearby tree and completing the exercise over again.
Treecreepers are resident in Britain & Ireland and as a small bird, can suffer during harsh winters, resulting in population fluctuations. They are found throughout Britain & Ireland, except for the highest peaks and some of the more remote Scottish islands.
Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Treecreeper
Treecreeper identification is usually straightforward.
Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Treecreeper, provided by xeno-canto contributors.
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Status and Trends
Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.
This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.
|UK breeding population||No population change in UK (1967–2020)|
Occupied 10-km squares in UK
|No. occupied in breeding season||2319|
|% occupied in breeding season||77|
|No. occupied in winter||2400|
|% occupied in winter||79|
European Distribution Map
Breeding Season Habitats
|Most frequent in||Deciduous Wood|
Relative frequency by habitat
Treecreeper overall range size has reduced by only 5% but this conceals noticeable losses in southwest England, eastern England and southwest Ireland which are partially offset by gains in Scotland and northwest Ireland. The latter may result from the creation and maturation of new woodland.
Change in occupied 10-km squares in the UK
|% change in range in breeding season (1968–72 to 2008–11)||-4.4%|
|% change in range in winter (1981–84 to 2007–11)||+8.7%|
Treecreeper is recorded throughout the year.
Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.
Lifecycle and body size information about Treecreeper, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.
View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report
|Maximum Age from Ringing||8 years 8 months 7 days (set in 2017)|
|Typical Lifespan||2 years with breeding typically at 1 year|
|Wing Length||Adults||63.1±2.1 | Range 60–66mm, N=2126|
|Juveniles||63±2.1 | Range 60-66mm, N=1530|
|Males||64.4±1.6 | Range 62–67mm, N=422|
|Females||61.9±1.8 | Range 59–65.5mm, N=293|
|Body Weight||Adults||8.79±0.69 | Range 7.80–10.0g, N=1762|
|Juveniles||8.74±0.688 | Range 7.70–9.90g, N=1114|
|Males||8.94±0.49 | Range 8.20–9.80g, N=360|
|Females||8.94±0.89 | Range 7.80–10.5g, N=226|
Feather measurements and photos on featherbase
|Field Codes||2-letter: TC | 5-letter code: TREEC | Euring: 14860|
For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name
Interpretation and scientific publications about Treecreeper from BTO scientists.
Causes of change
The causes of change are unclear although changes to winter weather may have affected survival rates.
Further information on causes of change
Intensive study has shown that Treecreeper numbers and survival rates are reduced by wet winter weather (Peach et al. 1995b). The influence of cold weather is also evident in the low start to the index, following the severe winter of 1962/63, and the trough around 1980. Productivity, calculated using CES data, shows fluctuations since the 1980s. Nest failure rates at the egg stage fell in the 1970s and 1980s but has subsequently increased, and the number of fledglings per breeding attempt shows the opposite pattern and is now slightly lower than in the late 1960s. The trend towards earlier laying can be partly explained by recent climate change (Crick & Sparks 1999).
Information about conservation actions
The population of this species has increased consistently since the 1970s and it has expanded its range northwards, hence it is not a species of concern and no conservation actions are currently required.
Conservation actions benefiting other woodland species may also help Nuthatch. Habitat fragmentation may prevent Nuthatches from finding new sites (Verboom et al. 1991; Bellamy et al. 1998; van Langevelde 2008), and the provision of more frequent suitable patches of woodland across the landscape may therefore enable further colonisation and range expansion. Fragmentation may explain why numbers are relatively low and there are gaps in distribution in eastern England (Bellamy et al. 1998).
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