Sichuan Treecreeper

Sichuan Treecreeper Certhia tianquanensis is endemic to China and occurs patchily from central Sichuan north to southern Shaanxi in old-growth coniferous forests within a narrow altitudinal belt (about 2500 to 3000 m, down to 1600 m in winter). In Sichuan, it is common atop Mt. Wawu, where it occurs alongside the Hodgson’s treecreeper; but on nearby Mt. Emei, the Sichuan treecreeper appears to be absent . In central Sichuan, the Sichuan treecreeper is also at Labahe Natural Reserve, the town of Shuanghe, Longxi-Hongkou Forest and Wild Animal Nature Preserve, and Wolong Biosphere Reserve. Also recorded at Jiuzhaigou and Tangjiahe in northern Sichuan and on Mt. Taibai in the Qin Mountains in Shaanxi. Discovered in 1995, the species has been overlooked and may be found in new locations, but its habitat requirements appear to be strict, and much of the suitable habitat for the species may have been destroyed. Listed as near-threatened. Long-tailed, with a white chin and throat; rest of underparts brown, with some rufous-orange spilling over from rump to vent. Short, relatively straight bill is blackish-brown above, pale below. Feet pale brown, with long decurved claws (especially hind claw). Combination of long tail, short, relatively straight bill, and fairly brown underparts is unique, but perhaps still best identified by sound, its descending trill being unlike that of any other treecreeper. Descending, longer, trill of buff-barred warbler is preceded by one or more call notes, unlike pure trill of Sichuan treecreeper. Trill of Sichuan leaf warbler does not descend in pitch. May call with a trill on one pitch, preceeded by single “tit”. Also thin calls like other treecreepers. — Craig Brelsford

THE TREECREEPERS OF CHINA

shanghaibirding.com has research on all seven species of treecreeper in China. Click any link below:

Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
Hodgson’s Treecreeper C. hodgsoni
Bar-tailed Treecreeper C. himalayana
Rusty-flanked Treecreeper C. nipalensis
Sikkim Treecreeper C. discolor
Hume’s Treecreeper C. manipurensis
Sichuan Treecreeper C. tianquanensis

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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