Treecreepers measure from 12 to 18 cm in length. Their plumage is dull-coloured. Their bills are gently down-curved and rather long, used for probing bark for insects and spiders. They often climb up tree trunks in a helical path, hopping with their feet together; their toes are long and tipped with strongly curved claws for gripping. The longer tails of the Certhia treecreepers are stiffened to use as a prop while climbing, but those of the Spotted Creeper are shorter and not stiffened.

Habitat and Distribution

Most species occur in the Palearctic and Indomalaya ecozones, from Western Europe to Japan and India. One species occurs in North America from Alaska to Nicaragua and another has a discontinuous distribution in sub-Saharan Africa and India. All species of treecreeper are found in forest and woodland habitats. The more northerly species are partly migratory, and those found in warmer climates are thought to be resident.


They forage trunks of large trees. They move up the trunk in small hops. They fly to the bottom of a tree, then climb in a spiral fashion searching for prey. Their diet is made of small invertebrates, including insects, larvae, spiders, and pseudoscorpions.


Nests and eggs vary between the genera. The Certhia treecreepers usually nest in a gap between the tree bark and the tree, whereas the nest of the Spotted Creeper is placed in the fork of a branch. Incubation lasts 14 to 15 days, and young fledge after 15 to 16 days.

Calls and Songs

Their songs and calls are thin and high-pitched.