An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Cryptic Coloration

Can you find the brown creeper that’s on the trunk of this black cherry tree? This is cryptic coloration, a form of camouflage in which an animal blends into its environment, at its finest.  A forager of insects and spiders tucked away behind and in the crevices of bark, the brown creeper starts its search at the base of a tree, climbing upward and often spiraling around the trunk until it nears the top.  It then flies to the base of a nearby tree to begin the process again. As W.M.Tyler wrote in 1948 in Bent’s Life Histories of N.A. Birds, “The brown creeper, as he hitches along the bole of a tree, looks like a fragment of detached bark that is defying the law of gravitation by moving upward over the trunk, and as he flies off to another tree he resembles a little dry leaf blown about by the wind.”  

2 responses

  1. I always enjoy hearing them singing when we’re gathering in the sugarbush. It wouldn’t be spring without them-
    Their nests are also great to find, behind loose sheets of bark…

    March 29, 2012 at 1:19 pm

  2. Libby

    I have heard that brown creepers do not come to suet feeders – however, there has been one at mine for several years. Has anyone else ever observed that?

    March 29, 2012 at 8:10 pm

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