Wall creeper

Tichodroma muraria

SUBFAMILY

Tichodrominae

TAXONOMY

Tichodroma muraria Linaeus, 1766. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Tichodrome echelette; German: Mauerla; Spanish: Treparriscos.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

6.5 in (16.5 cm), with a short tail, and a long, black, down-curved bill. The back crown of the head is gray, the chin and tail are black, and the wings are white-spotted gray with red patches.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Pink-faced sittella; French: Neositte noire; German: Prachtkleiber; Spanish: Sita de Cara Rosada.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

4.3 in (11 cm), with a short tail, a black body, and red-pink face and tip of tail.

DISTRIBUTION

Occurs in New Guinea.

DISTRIBUTION

Occurs widely in Eurasia, from the Pyrenees, Alps, northern Apennines and Carinthian mountains, over the Balkans to Syria, the Himalayas and adjacent mountainous China.

HABITAT

Occurs in mountainous regions in the vicinity of cliffs and rocky gorges as high as the snow line. There must, however, be vegetation in the vicinity of the rocky places where they breed. Migrates to somewhat lower habitats in the winter.

HABITAT

Occurs in mossy cloud forest at altitudes of 6,600-11,800 ft (2,000-3,600 m) or higher.

BEHAVIOR

Occurs as pairs or in small flocks. Does not migrate. Like nuthatches, it will clamber head-downwards on tree trunks. The song is a faint series of squeaky notes.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Gleans invertebrates from tree branches and foliage and also eats fruits.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Builds a deep cup-shaped nest on a lichen-covered branch (rather than nesting in tree or rock cavities like other members of the Sittidae). The nest consists of spider and cocoon silk, with pieces of bark to camouflage the exterior. There are usually three eggs, which are similar in color to the lichens near the nest. Cooperative breeding occurs, in which not only the parents take part in nest building and the feeding of the young, but also other individuals. The "helpers" are likely close relatives, such as non-breeding young or siblings of the breeding pair.

BEHAVIOR

Wall creepers have a solitary lifestyle outside of the breeding season. They frequently flit their wings and have a light, butterfly-like flight pattern. They have an altitudinal migration. The song is a series of rising, high-pitched notes.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages for invertebrates in crevices of steep rockfaces and walls. Also eats small fruits and seeds.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nests in a rocky crevice. Lays three or four white eggs. CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. A widespread species within its habitat, but not particularly abundant.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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