de Sélys Longchamps, 1839
There are 7 species of Australasian treecreeper in the passerine bird family Climacteridae. They are medium-small, mostly brown birds with patterning on their underparts, and all are endemic to Australia-New Guinea. They resemble, but are not closely related to, the Holarctic treecreepers. The family is one of several families identified by DNA-DNA hybridisation studies to be part of the Australo-Papuan songbird radiation. There is some molecular support for suggesting that their closest relatives are the large lyrebirds.
As their name implies, treecreepers forage for insects and other small creatures living on and under the bark of trees, mostly eucalypts, though several species also hunt on the ground, through leaf-litter, and on fallen timber. Unlike the Holarctic treecreepers they do not use their tail for support when climbing tree trunks, only their feet.
Australasian treecreepers nest in holes in trees. The species in the family hold breeding territories, although the extent to which they are defended and last varies. Some species, such as the Red-browed Treecreeper and the Brown Treecreeper are cooperative breeders, others, like the White-throated Treecreeper are not. The cooperative breeders form groups or a single breeding pair as well as up to three helpers, which are usually the young males of previous parings. Helpers assist with the construction of the nest, feeding of the incubating female and feeding and defending the young.
Species of Climacteridae
- Genus Cormobates
- Genus Climacteris
- Del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A. & Christie D. (editors). (2007). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 9788496553422
- Noske, N.A. (1991). "A Demographic Comparison of Cooperatively Breeding and Noncooperative Treecreepers (Climacteridae)". Emu 91 (2) 73 - 86
- Sibley, C.G.; Schodde, R. & J.E. Ahlquist (1984) "The relationship of the Australo-Papuan Treecreepers Climacteridae as indicated by DNA-DNA hybridization". Emu 84 (4): 236 - 241
- Christidis, L.; Norman, J.; Scott, I. & M Westerman (1996) "Molecular Perspectives on the Phylogenetic Affinities of Lyrebirds (Menuridae) and Treecreepers (Climacteridae)". Australian Journal of Zoology 44 (3) 215 - 222
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- Australasian Treecreeper videos on the Internet Bird Collection
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