Nature conservation

Threatened species

Brown Treecreeper (eastern subspecies) - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Climacteris picumnus victoriae
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 26 Oct 2001
Profile last updated: 18 Oct 2022


The Brown Treecreeper, Australia’s largest treecreeper, is a grey-brown bird with black streaking on the lower breast and belly and black bars on the undertail. Pale buff bands across the flight feathers are obvious in flight. The face is pale, with a dark line through the eye, and a dark crown. Sexes differ slightly in all plumages, with small patches of black and white streaking on the centre of the uppermost breast on males, while the females exhibit a rufous and white streaking. Juveniles differ from adults mainly by the pattern of the under-body, and by their a pale bill and gape. Subspecies victoriae is distinguished from subspecies picumnus by colour differences on the face, body and tail markings. The two subspecies grade into each other through central NSW. Individuals are active, noisy and conspicuous, and give a loud ‘pink’ call, often repeated in contact, and sometimes given in a series of 5 - 10 descending notes. Breeds from July to Feb across its range.


The Brown Treecreeper is endemic to eastern Australia and occurs in eucalypt forests and woodlands of inland plains and slopes of the Great Dividing Range. It is less commonly found on coastal plains and ranges.

The western boundary of the range of Climacteris picumnus victoriae runs approximately through Corowa, Wagga Wagga, Temora, Forbes, Dubbo and Inverell and along this line the subspecies intergrades with the arid zone subspecies of Brown Treecreeper Climacteris picumnus picumnus which then occupies the remaining parts of the state.

The eastern subspecies lives in eastern NSW in eucalypt woodlands through central NSW and in coastal areas with drier open woodlands such as the Snowy River Valley, Cumberland Plains, Hunter Valley and parts of the Richmond and Clarence Valleys.

The population density of this subspecies has been greatly reduced over much of its range, with major declines recorded in central NSW and the northern and southern tablelands. Declines have occurred in remnant vegetation fragments smaller than 300 hectares, that have been isolated or fragmented for more than 50 years.

Habitat and ecology

  • Found in eucalypt woodlands (including Box-Gum Woodland) and dry open forest of the inland slopes and plains inland of the Great Dividing Range; mainly inhabits woodlands dominated by stringybarks or other rough-barked eucalypts, usually with an open grassy understorey, sometimes with one or more shrub species; also found in mallee and River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) Forest bordering wetlands with an open understorey of acacias, saltbush, lignum, cumbungi and grasses; usually not found in woodlands with a dense shrub layer; fallen timber is an important habitat component for foraging; also recorded, though less commonly, in similar woodland habitats on the coastal ranges and plains.
  • Sedentary, considered to be resident in many locations throughout its range; present in all seasons or year-round at many sites; territorial year-round, though some birds may disperse locally after breeding.
  • Gregarious and usually observed in pairs or small groups of 8 to 12 birds; terrestrial and arboreal in about equal proportions; active, noisy and conspicuous while foraging on trunks and branches of trees and amongst fallen timber; spend much more time foraging on the ground and fallen logs than other treecreepers.
  • When foraging in trees and on the ground, they peck and probe for insects, mostly ants, amongst the litter, tussocks and fallen timber, and along trunks and lateral branches; up to 80% of the diet is comprised of ants; other invertebrates (including spiders, insects larvae, moths, beetles, flies, hemipteran bugs, cockroaches, termites and lacewings) make up the remaining percentage; nectar from Mugga Ironbark (Eucalyptus sideroxylon) and paperbarks, and sap from an unidentified eucalypt are also eaten, along with lizards and food scraps; young birds are fed ants, insect larvae, moths, craneflies, spiders and butterfly and moth larvae.
  • Hollows in standing dead or live trees and tree stumps are essential for nesting.
  • The species breeds in pairs or co-operatively in territories which range in size from 1.1 to 10.7 ha (mean = 4.4 ha). Each group is composed of a breeding pair with retained male offspring and, rarely, retained female offspring. Often in pairs or cooperatively breeding groups of two to five birds.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Australian AlpsSnowy Mountains Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Plains Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Range Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Basalts Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthTalbragar Valley Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsBogan-Macquarie Known East of the Newell Highway
NandewarInverell Basalts Known None
NandewarKaputar Known None
NandewarNandewar Northern Complex Known None
NandewarPeel Known None
New England TablelandsArmidale Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsBeardy River Hills Known None
New England TablelandsBinghi Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsBundarra Downs Known None
New England TablelandsDeepwater Downs Known None
New England TablelandsEastern Nandewars Known None
New England TablelandsEbor Basalts Known None
New England TablelandsGlenn Innes-Guyra Basalts Known None
New England TablelandsMoredun Volcanics Known None
New England TablelandsNightcap Known None
New England TablelandsNortheast Forest Lands Known None
New England TablelandsSevern River Volcanics Known None
New England TablelandsStanthorpe Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsTenterfield Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsTingha Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsWalcha Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsWongwibinda Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsYarrowyck-Kentucky Downs Known None
NSW North CoastCarrai Plateau Predicted None
NSW North CoastCataract Known None
NSW North CoastChaelundi Known None
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastComboyne Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastDalmorton Known None
NSW North CoastEllerston Known None
NSW North CoastGuy Fawkes Known None
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Gorges Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Known None
NSW North CoastMummel Escarpment Predicted None
NSW North CoastRocky River Gorge Known None
NSW North CoastTomalla Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Hunter Known None
NSW North CoastWashpool Known None
NSW North CoastYuraygir Known None
NSW South Western SlopesCapertee Valley Known None
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Known None
NSW South Western SlopesLower Slopes Known East of the Newell Highway
OceanBatemans Shelf Known None
Ocean - Other StateSouthern Australian Coastal Waters Known None
Other StateACT Known None
Other StateQLD Known None
Other StateSA Known None
Other StateVIC Known None
RiverinaMurray Fans Known None
South East CornerBateman Known None
South East CornerSouth East Coastal Ranges Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBathurst Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBondo Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBungonia Known None
South Eastern HighlandsCapertee Uplands Known None
South Eastern HighlandsCrookwell Known None
South Eastern HighlandsHill End Known None
South Eastern HighlandsKanangra Known None
South Eastern HighlandsKybeyan-Gourock Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMonaro Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMurrumbateman Known None
South Eastern HighlandsOberon Known None
South Eastern HighlandsOrange Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Sandstones Known None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Known None
South Eastern QueenslandWoodenbong Known None
Sydney BasinBurragorang Known None
Sydney BasinCumberland Known None
Sydney BasinHunter Known None
Sydney BasinKerrabee Known None
Sydney BasinPittwater Known None
Sydney BasinWollemi Known None
Sydney BasinWyong Known None
Sydney BasinYengo Known None