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Climacteridae – Australasian Treecreepers

Black-tailed Treecreeper in Australia: Photo by Laurie Ross

The family Climacteridae, known as the Australian treecreepers, consists of small, sturdy birds found across Australia and New Guinea.

Overview of Climacteridae

Every avifauna includes birds that live and forage on the bark of large trees, and this is one of the two families in Australia that do so. Unlike woodpeckers or Holarctic creepers, these birds climb up tree trunks without relying on stiff tail feathers for support, using their powerful feet and claws instead, particularly a hind toe adapted for flexible support. After reaching the top of a tree trunk, they fly down to the base of a nearby trunk to begin foraging again. They are the only Australian passerines that habitually nest in cavities left by broken-off tree limbs, and approximately half of these species are cooperative breeders.