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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Brown Creeper -- Certhia americana

RANGE: Breeds from southwestern, central, and southeastern Alaska, central Alberta, central Manitoba, and Newfoundland south to southern California, across to extreme western Texas, southeastern Nebraska, southeastern Missouri, southern Ontario, eastern Ohio, and West Virginia; in the Applachians to eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina; and to the lowlands of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Breeds also through Mexico into Central America. Winters generally through the breeding range, withdrawing from the higher latitudes and elevations and south throughout the eastern United States and southern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and central Florida.

STATUS: Inconspicuous, but locally common.

HABITAT: Inhabits dense coniferous, deciduous, and mixed woodlands, montane forests, and wooded swamps with standing dead trees with loose bark. During migration and in winter, occurs in open woodlands, scrub forests, parks, and suburban trees.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Dead trees with loose bark, preferably with a minimum dbh of 10 inches.

NEST: Constructs nest between loose bark and the trunk of a live, dead, or dying tree, generally 5 to 15 feet above the ground. Occasionally nests in natural cavities or old woodpecker holes.

FOOD: Explores tree trunks and branches for insects and larvae. Also eats a small amount of mast.

REFERENCES: Bent 1948, Davis 1978, DeGraff et al. 1980, Johnsgard 1979, Terres 1980, Thomas et al. 1979.

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