Family Treecreepers (Certhiidae)

Least Concern

Eurasian Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris)


French: Grimpereau des bois German: Waldbaumläufer Spanish: Agateador euroasiático

Certhia familiaris


, 1758,

Europe = Sweden


Formerly treated as conspecific with C. hodgsoni and C. americana, but both of these differ genetically and vocally from present species. Corsican race (corsa) moderately distinctive in morphology and voice, but a recent phylogeographic study found that corsa and caucasica are sister taxa representative of a once-widespread geographical lineage that failed to persist outside Corsica and the Caucasus#R. Geographical variation otherwise minor, to some extent clinal, plumage becoming paler and greyer and white streaking better defined E from N Europe (slightly paler, greyer birds from E European Russia and W Siberia once separated as race “rossica”), but this cline reversed in SE Russia (Amurland), NE China and Japan; also, a cline of increasing colour saturation in Europe from N (nominate race) to S & W (macrodactyla), British birds (britannica) representing W extension of cline; nominate race intergrades with macrodactyla in W (Germany/Poland region) and with daurica in E (Yenisey Basin, in SC Siberia). S races persica and tianschanica closely resemble nominate, and perhaps better merged with it. In extreme E of species’ range, proposed races kurilensis (described from Kuril Is) and orientalis (from R Sidemi, in S Ussuriland) treated as synonyms of daurica; kurilensis, however, possibly exhibits some constant differences in coloration from last, and may merit recognition; further study required. Ten subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. f. britannica Ridgway, 1882 – Ireland and Britain (except Is of Scilly, Orkney and Shetland).
  • C. f. macrodactyla C. L. Brehm, 1831 – W Europe E to Poland (R Oder), Slovakia and C Hungary, S to N Spain (Cordillera Cantábrica, Sierra Cebollera and Pyrenees), Italy (Alps, locally Apennines S to Abruzzo) and NW Croatia.
  • C. f. corsa E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 – Corsica.
  • C. f. familiaris Linnaeus, 1758 – Fennoscandia and E Europe (from Poland) E to W Siberia (Yenisey Basin), S to Greece (Pindos Range and N mountains E to Rodopi Range), NW Turkey (Thrace) and N Ukraine.
  • C. f. daurica Domaniewski, 1922 – SC Siberia (from Yenisey Basin) E to S Sea of Okhotsk, Sakhalin and Kurils (Urup, Iturup and Shikotan), S to NE Kazakhstan, N Mongolia, NE China (Heilongjiang S to Liaoning, N Hebei and Beijing), SE Russia (Amurland, Ussuriland), N Japan (Hokkaido) and N North Korea.
  • C. f. caucasica Buturlin, 1907 – Crimea, Caucasus, N Turkey; Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan (except SE).
  • C. f. persica Zarudny & Loudon, 1905 – SE Azerbaijan and N Iran (Elburz Mts E to Gonbad-e-Kavus).
  • C. f. tianschanica E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 – SE Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan E in Tien Shan to NW China (Xinjiang E to Hami).
  • C. f. bianchii E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 – N China in E Qinghai, NW & W Gansu, Shaanxi (N flanks of Qinling Mts) and Shanxi (Pangquanguo Reserve).
  • C. f. japonica E. J. O. Hartert, 1897 – S Japan (Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu).
  • Descriptive notes

    12·5–14 cm; 7·8–10 g. Nominate race in fresh plumage (from Sept) has crown and nape bright rufous-brown, feathers narrowly fringed black and with white... read more


    Commonest call shrill, high-pitched, but characteristically emphatic and penetrating “srrih... read more


    Forest and woodland, generally requiring well-grown trees with many cracks and crevices in bark for... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food insects, spiders (Araneae) and, in winter, also some seeds (especially pine and spruce). Forages mouse-like on trunks and larger... read more


    Season late Mar to Jun in W Palearctic and May–Jul in Japan; c. 20% of pairs double-brooded, especially in S & W of range.... read more


    W & S populations largely resident (e.g. most British individuals move less than 20 km), but... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common in general, but unobtrusive; uncommon to rare in many areas towards N & S extremes. Densities much lower in N of range than in S, e... read more

    Recommended citation

    Harrap, S. (2019). Eurasian Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris). 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 18 November 2019).