Certhia familiaris, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 184 (1766) ; Naum. v. p. 398, Taf. 140 ; Hewitson, i. p. 243, pl. lxii. fig. 2 ; Gould, B. of E. pl. 237 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 64 ; Newton, i. p. 468 ; Dresser,
iii. 195, pl. 122 ; Gadow, Cat. B. Br. Mus. viii. p. 323 ; Tacz. P. O. Sib. O. p. 204 ; Saunders, p. 117 ; Lilford, ii. p. 114, pl. 52.
Grimpereau familier, French ; Trepadevia, Atrepa, Portug. ; Trepatroncos, Arenero, Span. ; Rampechino, Ital. ; Baumlaufer, German ; Boomkruipertje, Dutch ; Troepikker, Troelober, Dan. ; Troekryber, Norweg. ; Tradkrypare, Swed. ; Punkiipija, Finn. ; Pishchuka Sverchok, Russ. ; Kibashiri, Jap.
Male ad. (England). Upper parts dark brown striped with pale ochreous, the lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts rufous brown ; quills excepting the three first with a broad bar of buffy white across the middle and a second in the folded wing towards the end, and tipped with the same colour ; tail uniform pale brown, the shafts rufous ; a white streak over the eye ; under parts silky white tinged with buff on the flanks and under tail-coverts ; bill curved, dark bom-brown, paler below ; legs light brown ; iris brown. Culmen 0.7, wing 2.5, tail 2.45, tarsus 0.65 inch. Sexes similar. The young bird resembles the adult but has the. upper parts dull dark brown spotted with yellowish, and faintly shaded with rusty ochreous ; bill very short and almost straight ; under parts greyish white, duller on the vent and flanks.
Hab. Europe ; N.W. Africa ; Asia east to Japan, and south to the Himalayas, and N. China ; North America south to Mexico.
In general habits this is a quiet and unobtrusive bird, but busy and restless, appearing to be always on the move climbing spirally up the trunks of trees, carefully examining the bark for its insect food. It is not a migrant, but a wanderer in the winter season, like the Titmice, with which if often then consorts, and frequents woods and groves both of conifer and non-evergreen trees, gardens, &c. Its call-note is a soft cheep, and its song, which is heard in the spring and early summer, is simple but pleasing. It feeds on insects and their larvae, and to a smaller extent on seeds when insects are scarce. It breeds usually in April, placing its nest in a cleft or behind the loose bark of a tree, occasionally behind loose plaster or in the foundation of the nest of a bird of prey or a rook, and generally raises two broods in the year. The nest is constructed of grass, fine roots and strips of bark, wool, hair, feathers, &c., and is usually rather compressed and deep. The eggs, from 5 to 9 in number, are white, spotted and blotched with reddish-brown and dull red, the markings being frequently collected round the larger end, and measure about 0.62 by 0.49.
Being subject to slight, often only individual variation, this species has by various authors been split up into many sub¬species. Thus, those inhabiting the Palaearctic area have been subdivided as follows : Certhia familiaris L. (North, Central, and South Europe), G. brachydacttyla, Brehm (Central Europe); C. britannica, Ridgw. (Great Britain) ; C. scandulacea, Pall. (Eastern Europe and Siberia); C. hodgsoni, Brooks (Kashmir) ; G. japonica, Hartert( Hondo and Nippon, Japan) ; and those inhabitating the Nearctic area as follows : G. americana, Bp. (Eastern North America) ; C. montana, Ridgw. (Rocky Mountains, north to Alaska) ; C. occidentalis, Ridgw. (California to Sitka) ; C. alticola, Milter (Mexico, Guatemala, and S. Arizona) ; and C. albescens, Berlepsch (N.W. Mexico and Arizona). I cannot, however, see my way to recognise any of these subspecies, but unite them all under Certhia familiaris.
287. Certhia familiaris