Quick Facts

Length: 17 cm
Height: -
Weight: 33 grams
Colour: Mostly pale brown plumage
Habitat: Drier open forests and woodlands
Food: Insects and larvae. Preferred insect are ants
Predators: -
Status: Vulnerable NSW, Not Present in NT, TAS & WA. Secure in QLD and VIC

The Brown Treecreeper is the largest of Australia's treecreepers. It is mostly pale brown in plumage. Birds of northern Queensland are darker brown. The head, throat and upper breast are pale greyish-brown, while the lower breast and belly are strongly streaked with black and buff. In flight, a buff stripe can be seen in the wing. The sexes are similar, except females have rufous edges to the feathers of the upper breast, while in the male these edges are black. Young Brown Treecreepers resemble the adults, but are duller, have less obvious stripes on the underparts and the lower belly is a pale rufous colour.

Other treecreeper species that overlap in range with the Brown Treecreeper include the White-browed Treecreeper, and the White-throated Treecreeper. The White-browed Treecreeper is darker grey-brown with a more distinct white stripe above the eye (edged with red-brown in the female). The eyebrow of the Brown Treecreeper is less distinct and is more buff. The smaller White-throated Treecreeper has much darker upperparts, a contrasting white throat and little or no marks above the eye.

Found in the drier open forests and woodlands, the Brown Treecreeper stays in the same area all year round.

The Brown Treecreeper climbs up the trunks and branches of trees in search of food. It probes into cavities and under loose bark with its long downward curving bill. In this way it searches for insects and their larvae. The most favoured insects are ants. Some feeding also takes place on the ground on fallen logs. Sometimes, birds can be seen diving on ground-dwelling prey from a perch in a tree. Feeding normally takes place in pairs or small groups.

The nest is a collection of grasses, feathers and other soft material, placed in a suitable tree hollow or similar site. Both sexes build the nest, but the female alone incubates the eggs. Pairs often have two broods during each breeding season. Occasionally, other birds ("helpers") assist the breeding pair with building of nest and feeding the young chicks.

Author: Rosalyn Plunkett
Last Updated: Wednesday 8th January, 2014


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