The Kennedy Wild Bird Food Guide to the Treecreeper

Despite the fact that there are over 200,000 UK breeding territories belonging to the short-toed treecreeper, you’d be lucky (or blessed with extremely keen eyesight) to spot one in your garden. This quiet, almost soundless, bird prefers to keep things low-key by using its dark brown/black plumage to blend in with its environment.

Here’s a profile of the treecreeper bird – everything you could ever wish to know about this unassuming (yet beautiful) British bird.

One of the most elusive birds in British wildlife

Because of its dark plumage, the treecreeper finds it easy to blend in with its environment to avoid detection. If the treecreeper even thinks that it has been spotted, the bird completely freezes so that not a single twitch could give it away. At this very moment, it is almost impossible for you to spot one. The bird is also said to avoid interaction by moving quickly to the other side of a tree at the smallest disturbance or sound (its antisocial nature is what earned the bird its name!).

What does the treecreeper actually look like?

Should you spot the treecreeper, you’ll know it by the long and slender downcurved bill. It also has a white breast that, in contrast to the dark plumage on top, is one of the most striking features of the treecreeper.

Where does the treecreeper live?

As you might imagine, the treecreeper prefers the anonymity of vast woodland areas as opposed to more built-up residential areas. While they’re not exclusive to woodland areas and may visit your garden (especially if you live rurally), they generally stay within their comfort zone. However, you might be able to attract this beautiful bird to your garden with some of their favourite mixed bird seed.

What does the treecreeper call sound like?

The treecreeper call is so high-pitched that, for some, it’s inaudible. Phonetically, bird call experts have described the call as “tee-tee-tee-titidooee”. To hear it for yourself, click the link below.

How does the treecreeper build its nest?

The treecreeper has a very unconventional way of building a nest. The bird makes its home behind a loose flap of bark, filling the space with a foundation of twigs and then adding grass, moss, lichen and wood chips, after which the female treecreeper lines the nest with hair, wool and feathers. This process takes around a week.

If you’re looking to build a treecreeper nest box of your own, you’ll want to replicate the above as closely as you can. When it comes to breeding, the treecreeper tends to breed between April and July.

Treecreeper facts

  • Staying true to its name, the treecreeper only ever climbs up a tree and never down. Once the bird reaches the top of a tree, it simply flies to the bottom of a nearby tree.
  • They almost exclusively eat insects (spiders and other small insects form the majority of their diet).
  • Their tail helps them to climb trees by leveraging them further up the tree – the treecreeper’s tail is lined with stiff shaft-like feathers that protrude at the tip of the bird’s tail.
  • There are nine similar species of treecreeper across the world. The one native to Great Britain (Certhia Familiaris) can also be found as far east as Japan.
  • The British treecreeper rarely moves that far from where they were hatched, whereas more northern populations migrate south in the winter.

Want to feed a treecreeper in your area?

If you’re lucky enough to spot a treecreeper that creeps up (but never down, remember) a tree near you, and you want to start feeding it, we have just the thing for you. Our bird seed mix is perfect for treecreepers – they’ll love to supplement their insect-based diet with some tasty wild bird seed.

And, while the treecreeper is a reclusive bird by nature, you can still create a great environment for them to drop in from time to time.

If you do spot a treecreeper, don’t forget to log the sighting on our Birdspotter map!