The Wallcreeper: a unique bird

The Wallcreeper: a Unique Bird

Tichodroma muraria
Length: 16.5-17cm
Bill: 2.3 to 4.2cm
Weight: 16 to 20g


Thought to be close to the Treecreeper, its DNA shows it to be nearer to the Nuthatch
.


The Wallcreeper is a medium-sized passerine with a long, thin bill living in Eurasian mountains from Spain to China. Its most original feature is a habitat not in front of the cliffs like Crag martins but on them and this year-round. This exclusivity allows it to exploit the richness of the insects and spiders that live on the rockface.

The wallcreeper, while remaining on the cliffs, migrates altitudinally to avoid deep snow and blizzards. In territories at lower altitudes, it can winter on castles, churches and all kinds of old or recent structures, even dams.



 

Both its body and behaviour have evolved to make this possible. The Wallcreeper is unique, only one species being known in the world. Its beauty and shape are distinctly original, arousing the passion of birdwatchers all over the world. Owing to its elusive behavior and rough territory, it is difficult to spot. This can be a real fascination!


 

The Wallcreeper appears at first to be all grey in color but it often opens its wings when climbing, offering incredibly bright carmine wings with beautiful white spots. Useful though this movement and morphology may be when on display, they more usually enable the Wallcreeper to make use of thermals when rising along a cliff. It is for this reason that the wallcreeper is often called the "butterfly bird".
 On close examination it is suspected that these wing movements help to hunt hidden prey, which suddenly flee before the large approaching shadow.



 

Winter plumage entails a pale throat and an absence of black on the body, and the estival version shows a black throat, often larger on males, though sexual dimorphism is not obvious. Females tend to also have longer bills, but not conclusively so.

The Wallcreeper: a Unique Bird

Tichodroma muraria
Length: 16.5-17cm
Bill: 2.3 to 4.2cm
Weight: 16 to 20g


Thought to be close to the Treecreeper, its DNA shows it to be nearer to the Nuthatch
.


The Wallcreeper is a medium-sized passerine with a long, thin bill living in Eurasian mountains from Spain to China. Its most original feature is a habitat not in front of the cliffs like Crag martins but on them and this year-round. This exclusivity allows it to exploit the richness of the insects and spiders that live on the rockface.

The wallcreeper, while remaining on the cliffs, migrates altitudinally to avoid deep snow and blizzards. In territories at lower altitudes, it can winter on castles, churches and all kinds of old or recent structures, even dams.



 

Both its body and behaviour have evolved to make this possible. The Wallcreeper is unique, only one species being known in the world. Its beauty and shape are distinctly original, arousing the passion of birdwatchers all over the world. Owing to its elusive behavior and rough territory, it is difficult to spot. This can be a real fascination!


 

The Wallcreeper appears at first to be all grey in color but it often opens its wings when climbing, offering incredibly bright carmine wings with beautiful white spots. Useful though this movement and morphology may be when on display, they more usually enable the Wallcreeper to make use of thermals when rising along a cliff. It is for this reason that the wallcreeper is often called the "butterfly bird".
 On close examination it is suspected that these wing movements help to hunt hidden prey, which suddenly flee before the large approaching shadow.



 

Winter plumage entails a pale throat and an absence of black on the body, and the estival version shows a black throat, often larger on males, though sexual dimorphism is not obvious. Females tend to also have longer bills, but not conclusively so.