Creeper, a bird of the order passeres, tribe tenuirostres, and family certhiadm. To the subfamily certhianae, containing five genera, and to the genus certhia (Linn.), belongs our common brown creeper (C. familiaris, Linn.). The bill is moderate, slender, curved, with compressed sides and acute tip; the wings are moderate and rounded; the tail long and graduated, with the ends of the feathers rigid and acute; tarsi shorter than the middle toe; all the toes long and slender, with curved and sharp claws. There are two species, one inhabiting Asia, and the other Europe and North America; those who consider the American bird different, because found here, without being able to give any specific characters for it, may call it G. Americana (Bonap.). The creepers are found wherever trees are thick, climbing up the trunks with the aid of the tail, running along and on the under surface of branches in search of insects concealed in the bark. The upper parts of our species are reddish brown, the head dark, the rump lighter; all the feathers have a central dull whitish streak; wings deep brown, the coverts tipped with dull yellow, and the secondaries barred with the same; lower parts and band over eye silvery white; sides tinged with brown; webs of the quills, except of the outer three, crossed with a dull yellowish band; tail yellowish brown; length of bird 5 1/2 inches, extent of wings 8 1/2 the female is smaller and darker.
It is extensively distributed, alighting on all kinds of trees, preferring the tallest, in company with the smaller woodpeckers and nuthatches. It breeds in holes in trees, often taking the abandoned nests of woodpeckers and squirrels; the eggs are six to eight, of a yellowish white color, with irregular purplish dots, especially at the larger end. It feeds on ants, larvae, small insects, and particles of lichens, in the winter coming into the orchards near houses. It is an exceedingly active and restless bird, shooting down from the top of an examined tree to the base of another, which it ascends as before. - To the same family belong the tree-creepers (dendrocolaptinae), larger birds, with long curved bills, peculiar to South America; their habits are the same as those of the genus certhia. The black and white creeper is the mniotilta varia (Vieill.), of the family syhicolidae.
Creeper, with Claw and Tail Feather.