Sikkim Treecreeper

In China, Sikkim Treecreeper Certhia discolor occurs only in southern Tibet along Yalu Zangbu River (upper Brahmaputra River) and south to borders with Nepal, Bhutan, and India. HABITAT Breeds in broadleaved and mixed subtropical forest, to 2800 m (9,190 ft.). ID & COMPARISON Brown upperparts with buff and white streaks, spots, and mottling and an orange-brown rump. Tail brown (brighter and less contrasting against rump than Hodgson’s Treecreeper C. hodgsoni). Cheeks blackish-brown with buffish center. Throat and upper breast brownish-grey (some show buff wash like Hume’s Treecreeper C. manipurensis, slightly paler grey on belly, vent and undertail coverts cinnamon-buff. Plumage very similar to Hume’s, with which it was once considered conspecific, but Hume’s shanensis has cinnamon-buff throat and upper breast and in China occurs only in Yunnan around Gaoligong Mountains and Tengchong. Hodgson’s has white throat and breast and more prominent white supercilium and lacks cinnamon vent and undertail coverts; Bar-tailed Treecreeper C. himalayana has white throat and conspicuous black bars on tail (and also tertials and primary bases); both species breed at higher elevations than Sikkim, but in winter the three species are more likely to converge at lower elevations. Rusty-flanked Treecreeper C. nipalensis has richly colored rufous belly, flanks, and breast-sides, a more conspicuous buffish-white supercilium, and a shorter, straighter bill. BARE PARTS Bill blackish-grey above; lower mandible pale brown. Feet pale brown, with long decurved claws (especially hind claw). Song a rapid trill, faster and slightly longer than Hume’s Treecreeper. Calls thin tsit. — Craig Brelsford

THE TREECREEPERS OF CHINA 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


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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