Creeper is the common name for songbirds of several families that share the habit of climbing tree trunks to search for food, probing the bark for insects and insect eggs. These birds include treecreepers, Australian creepers, woodcreepers, and Philippine creepers. In spite of their superficial similarities, these families are probably not closely related.
The only representative species in North America is the brown creeper. There are five very similar species of the same genus in Europe and Asia. These are small birds—the brown creeper is 13 cm (5.25 in) long—with relatively long tails that have stiffened shafts that act as props against the tree trunk. All of these species are various shades of brown above, with pale streaks or spots, and are unmarked white, gray, or pale brown below. They are birds of wooded areas, and are inconspicuous because of their barklike coloration and their quiet voices. Their nests are concealed in a natural split in a tree trunk or behind a flap of bark.
Creepers make up the tree creeper family, Certhiidae; the Australian creeper family, Climacteridae; the Philippine creeper family, Rhabdornithidae; and the woodcreeper family, Dendrocolaptidae. The brown creeper is classified as Certhia americana.