Family Treecreepers (Certhiidae)

Least Concern

Bar-tailed Treecreeper (Certhia himalayana)


French: Grimpereau de l’Himalaya German: Bänderschwanz-Baumläufer Spanish: Agateador del Himalaya

Certhia Himalayana


, 1832,

Himalayas (Garhwal and Kumaon)


Closest relatives uncertain, although song rather similar to those of C. discolor and C. manipurensis. Despite this species’ occurrence in two disjunct populations, geographical variation is clinal across whole range, W birds being palest with longer bill and E birds darker and shorter-billed (cline is apparently reversed at extreme E parts of range), and molecular variation is low#R. Pronounced local individual variation tends to mask geographical variation; proposed races infima (described from W Nepal) and limes (Gilgit, Pakistan) included in nominate. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. h. taeniura Severtsov, 1873 – mountains of C Asia in E Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, extreme SE Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and N Afghanistan. Probably extreme S Kazakhstan#R and extreme W Xinjiang#R (China).
  • C. h. himalayana Vigors, 1832 – E Afghanistan (S of Hindu Kush, from Nuristan S to Kandahar), N Pakistan (S at least to C Baluchistan, also in Murree Hills) and E in Himalayas (also N of main range, in upper Indus and associated valleys) to W Nepal.
  • C. h. yunnanensis Sharpe, 1902 – S China (from SW Gansu and S Shaanxi S to SE Xizang and NW & W Yunnan, also SW Guizhou) and N & NE Myanmar.
  • C. h. ripponi Kinnear, 1929 – S Chin Hills (Mt Victoria), in SW Myanmar.
  • Descriptive notes

    14 cm; 7·8–10·3 g. Rather distinctive treecreeper, dull plumage lacking strong rufous tones, but has well-defined dark bars on tail, and longest bill in genus. Nominate... read more


    Song of usually 7–12 (extremes 3–13) full, slightly disyllabic, whistled notes given in... read more


    Breeds in open coniferous forest and forest edge. In C Asia, N Afghanistan and W Pakistan (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food insects, spiders (Araneae) and other small invertebrates; occasionally also seeds. Forages on tree trunks and boughs, sometimes among... read more


    Season Apr–Jun, relatively early in Nepal and SW Myanmar, generally towards latter end of this period in NW Himalayas and C Asia;... read more


    W populations partially migratory, and in Pakistan, NW India and W Nepal some move S to foothills... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally fairly common. Race taeniura reported from S Kazakhstan (Karatau range and Alma-Ata region), but only one confirmed record for the... read more

    Recommended citation

    Harrap, S. (2019). Bar-tailed Treecreeper (Certhia himalayana). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 16 December 2019).