Nuthatch or Treecreeper?

I know they have very different colouring, but up a tree it wasn't easy to see and I wasn't sure what I was looking at.

Do both nuthatches and treecreepers move upside down, down a tree trunk?

RSPB website A-Z doesn't say, though does have a picture of a treecreeper upside down.

WildEngland website states categorically that the nuthatch is the only bird that travels down the trunk upside down.

Many thanks, Ali

  • Hi Ali, we have both Nuthatches and Treecreepers in our garden although the latter is seen less frequently; Nuthatches will work their way upwards or downwards on tree trunks, digging it's beak into the crevices of the bark to source insects or cache food such as seeds, the Treecreeper also hunts for insects/lavae under the bark and has a curved shape beak but in general you will never see a Treecreeper moving down a trunk - it always moves upwards and in a spiral motion, generally starting at the bottom of the tree, working its way upwards before flying from the top of that tree to the bottom of a neighbouring tree and starting it's climb in spirals again.    They both have different plumage colours;   to simplify ...... the Nuthatch has silver/grey back with a distinct black stripe which runs across the eye area, white face/throat and a buff underbelly whereas the Treecreeper has a mixture of brown plumage in camouflage pattern blending into the bark and white underbelly.     Hope this helps. .

    This is a Nuthatch ..................

    the next photo is a Treecreeper .............


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Hi Hazel,
    Yes really very helpful......the behavioural aspects especially.
    I went back to the same area of our local woods just now, but couldn't see it to confirm either way.
    How wonderful to have both in your garden - enjoy.
    Many thanks
  • Hi Ali - we used to get nuthatches coming to our feeders - but alas, not for a few years now. Probably due to too many predators about, attracted by their vivid colours. We always call them "bandits" as they have a noticeable black stripe through the eyes! I hadn't seen any tree creepers (which, as Hazy says, creep up trees from the base) in our local ancient park for years - but was thrilled to spot one through our bathroom window, on a neighbour's huge beech tree the other day. There wasn't time to grab the binoculars, but I could see it had a light underside with pale brown on the top, and it was definitely working its way up the tree trunk, flying into bushes nearby every now and again. Lovely birds!
    Karen B Suffolk
  • In reply to HAZY:

    Fab pics, Hazy. So clear and colourful. I also like the way you've positioned the photos so it looks like the tree creeper is looking up at the nuthatch! Very clever...
    Karen B Suffolk