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15

Brown Treecreeper

(Climacteris picumnus)
Alternate name(s): "Black Treecreeper"; misnomer: "Woodpecker*"
Aboriginal name(s): "bibi", "bibii" [yuwaalaraay, gamilaraay]

Size: 16-18 cm
Weight: 21-42 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Brown Treecreeper at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "picumnus"

ADULT

MALE

Near-frontal view of a male Brown Treecreeper calling; note the black chest markings (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Currawinya NP, near Hungerford, QLD, October 2012]

Near-lateral view of a male Brown Treecreeper (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Currawinya NP, near Hungerford, QLD, October 2012]

FEMALE

Near-frontal view of a female Brown Treecreeper - note the rufous chest marking (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bowra Station, near Cunnamulla, QLD, September 2017]

Near-frontal view of a female Brown Treecreeper calling - note the tail action (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bowra Station, near Cunnamulla, QLD, September 2017]

Sex unknown

Near-frontal view of a Brown Treecreeper (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bowra Station, near Cunnamulla, QLD, September 2017]

Lateral view of a Brown Treecreeper (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bowra Station, near Cunnamulla, QLD, September 2017]

Near-dorsal view of a Brown Treecreeper (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bowra Station, near Cunnamulla, QLD, September 2017]

Near-dorsal view of a Brown Treecreeper (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bowra Station, near Cunnamulla, QLD, September 2017]

Close-up dorsal view of a Brown Treecreeper (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Bowra Station, near Cunnamulla, QLD, September 2017]

Dorsal view of a Brown Treecreeper (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Currawinya NP, near Hungerford, QLD, October 2012]

Race "victoriae"

ADULT

MALE

Frontal view of a Brown Treecreeper on a tree trunk; the complete absence of any rufous marks on this bird's chest indicates that this is a male
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, May 2012]

Near-lateral view of an adult (male?) Brown Treecreeper on a dead branch; this bird was watching over its recently fledged chicks, one of which is shown further below
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, November 2008]

Male(?) Brown Treecreeper foraging in a yard; they are the only species of treecreeper that regularly feeds on the ground
[Near Coonabarabran, NSW, April 2006]

The same Brown Treecreeper as shown above, now in a more upright stance
[Near Coonabarabran, NSW, April 2006]

Male(?) Brown Treecreeper climbing up a tree trunk; note the prominent back toe, which helps give the bird a good foothold on vertical surfaces
[October 2007]

Male(?) Brown Treecreeper calling
[Eulah Creek, NSW, June 2012]

FEMALE

Near-frontal view of a female Brown Treecreeper on a tree trunk; the characteristic rufous chest markings are faint, but discernible
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, May 2012]

Near-lateral view of a Brown Treecreeper on the ground; the clearly visible rufous marks on the chest, between the fawn throat and the grey band, indicate that this is a female
[Near Warialda, NSW, August 2015]

Dorsal view of a Brown Treecreeper; there is no visible diagnostic to determine the bird's sex
[October 2008]

Brown Treecreeper hanging on to the bark of a Cypress pine tree
[20 km South of Narrabri, 2006]

The same Brown Treecreeper preening itself; the bird was resting in this position as well, without the need for a horizontal branch to sit on
[20 km South of Narrabri, 2006]

Brown Treecreeper launching itself into the air
[Leard State Forest, NSW, November 2013]

Relatively distant lateral view of a Brown Treecreeper; this is the bird whose calls were recorded on 12 June 2014
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, June 2014]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Fledgling Brown Treecreeper seen from below
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, November 2008]

Juvenile Brown Treecreeper
[Leard State Forest, NSW, November 2013]

Juvenile Brown Treecreeper, upper right, waiting to be fed with what looks like a caterpillar by one of its parents, lower left (photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Leard State Forest, NSW, November 2013]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jun - Jan Eggs: 2 - 3 Incubation period: 16-17 days Fledging age: 20-25 days

Nest building: ? Incubation: Female Dependent care: Family clan

The family clan, including young from a previous brood, will also feed the incubating female.

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Tree hollow Material: Grass or bark lining Height above ground: 1 - ? m

All species of Australian treecreepers build grass (and/or bark) nests inside tree hollows, either in tree trunks or dead limbs.

Brown Treecreeper at the entrance of its nest hollow; this is one of the birds whose alarm calls were recorded on 9 September 2015
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, September 2015]

Brown Treecreeper bringing a juicy larva for one of its chicks
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, September 2015]

One of the two Brown Treecreeper chicks peeking out of the opening, revealing that it is close to fledging age; this is one of two chicks whose begging calls were recorded on 9 September 2015
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, September 2015]

Two Brown Treecreeper chicks approaching fledging age peeking out of their nest hollow (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Bowra Station, SW QLD, October 2012]

Brown Treecreeper chicks peeking out of the nest hollow (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, October 2015]

This Brown Treecreeper chick can hardly wait to take off (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, October 2015]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 23 x 18 mm Colour: White, with mid-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary Elementary unit: Pair

Of the treecreepers known to us, the Brown Treecreeper is the only one that spends a significant amount of time on the ground.

Food, Diet

Like all treecreepers, Brown Treecreepers forage for insects in the bark of trees and fallen timber. Brown Treecreepers also forage on the ground.

Near-dorsal view of a Brown Treecreeper with its prey, a spider
[Near Warialda, NSW, August 2015]

Juvenile Brown Treecreeper looking for insects in the bark of an ironbark eucalypt
[Leard State Forest, NSW, November 2013]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

brtrcrp_20170919.m4a picumnus
(SW QLD)
Female in nest hollow, leaves, joins warning male © MD
 
brtrcrp_20141023.mp3 victoriae
(NW NSW)
Contact calls (quick) © MD
brtrcrp_20140612.mp3 victoriae
(NW NSW)
Contact calls (quick) © MD
brtrcrp_20150620_2.mp3 victoriae
(NW NSW)
Contact calls (slow) © MD
brtrcrp_20151021_2.mp3 victoriae
(NW NSW)
Q&A © MD
brtrcrp_20150620_4.mp3 victoriae
(NW NSW)
Q&A © MD
brtrcrp_20151021_3.mp3 victoriae
(NW NSW)
Warning calls(?) © MD
brtrcrp_20140207_2.mp3 victoriae
(NW NSW)
Annoyed call(?) © MD
brtrcrp_20151021.mp3 victoriae
(NW NSW)
Alarm calls © MD
brtrcrp_20150226.mp3 victoriae
(NW NSW)
Alarm calls © MD
brtrcrp_20150909.mp3 victoriae
(NW NSW)
Alarm calls (human near nest) © MD
brtrcrp_20150909_2.mp3 victoriae
(NW NSW)
Begging calls © MD
brtrcrp_20150620.mp3 victoriae
(NW NSW)
Various © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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