BROWN CREEPER – (Certhia americana)
The Brown creeper is also named American treecreeper because there’s another species of bird named ‘Brown creeper’ in New Zealand. As its name implies, the brown creeper is a small passerine which climbs up deciduous tree trunks and large branches in search of insects and arthropods. Its bill is rather long relative to the body size and slightly curved downward, which allows the bird to search food in trunk crevices. The tail is also specialized, like that of woodpeckers, having spines at the feather tips for a good grip.
The brown creeper is brown on its top parts with lighter spots and is white on its underside. This is a good case of mimicry that protects the bird from predators, but makes it almost impossible to see this common bird on a similarly looking tree trunk if it’s immobile.
As opposed to the nuthatches, which climb down tree trunks in search for food, the brown creeper can only climb up due to its specialized anatomy. This means that when it reaches the top of trees it flies down to the base of another tree, whereas the nuthatches have to fly up to the top of another tree when they reach the base of a tree.
The brown creeper breeds in PEI but is uncommon in the fall and winter. Its breeding territory is Canada from the mid-latitudes down to the mainland USA. Part of this bird’s population will migrate in the more southern range of its breeding territory.