Nuthatch Vs. Creeper

Having been seeing alot of nuthatches around recently, and having seen my first brown creeper recently, I have naturaly taken a liking to Brown Creepers.

This article lists the similarities and differences between the two tree-climbing birds.


   White-Breasted Nuthatches are pretty much common in the entire state year-round in dense woods, but become even more common in fall and winter. These birds are easily tempted out of the wood to suet or a bird feeder filled with nuts. These birds reside in the entire state year-round, and are 5-6" in length.

On the other hand, Brown Creepers are fairly uncommon in most of the state, with the exception of the northeastern counties along lake Erie, where they reside year-round. These cold-loving birds will come to wire tube feeders or tray feeders filled with nuts or suet, if they happen to find it. Brown creepers are usually a wee bit smaller than the white-breasted nuthatch and average around 5" in length.


   One major difference between the white-breasted nuthatch and the brown creeper is the plumage. Nuthatches (white-breasted) have a black cap on the male, but a gray cap on females, which is the only plumage variation between the male and female white-breasted nuthatch. They have white cheeks, and the entire underside is white also, except for some rusty-colored stains under the wings. The back, wings, and tailfeathers are gray with some black streaks, and occasional white streaks.

 Likewise the brown creeper has an entirely white underside, but the entire topside is brown speckled with white. Creeper's bills are also slightly down turned, while the white-breasted nuthatch has a long thick bill for hacking open nuts and seeds from their shells. Male and female brown creepers look alike; there is no telling the male from the female.


   Differences between the two exist in behavior as well. The white-breasted nuthatch is known as an upside-down bird due to it's habit of walking headfirst down trees, instead of up them like a woodpecker. While they are known for walking down trees, this does not mean that they never walk up trees. They also are often seen walking up trees. Brown creeper's have a habit of creeping up trees while spiraling around to the other side so as to cover the entire tree. They then fly to the bottom of another tree and begin their upward climb all over again. Nuthatches also usually spiral around to the other side of the tree, whether climbing up or down.


   While there are many more differences that could be named, I will just stick with these. Decide for yourself. Which one do you like better?

Check out photos of the White-Breasted Nuthatch and the Brown Creeper and compare the two to decide!


(POLL THAT WAS BELOW WAS REMOVED; THE RESULTS WERE AS FOLLOWS: 'which do you thinks is more entertaining?' =Nuthatch 5, Creeper 0.

POLL #2: 'which bird do you like better?" =Nuthatch2  , Creeper 2) The Nuthatch won both polls.

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