Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla


Justification of Red List category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing therefore the population does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The European population is estimated at 5,130,000-8,680,000 pairs, which equates to 10,300,000-17,400,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms approximately 90% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 11,000,000-19,000,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification
In Europe, trends between 1982 and 2013 show that populations have undergone a moderate increase (EBCC 2015).


This species occupies mixed and broadleaf deciduous woodland, particularly oak (Quercus), favouring edge habitats, as well as pine (Pinus) forest, riverine willows (Salix) and poplars (Populus), copses, orchards and parks, well-wooded farmland and suburban areas. In addition it is sometimes found in plantations of rough-barked exotic conifers. The species breeds from April to mid-June. The nest foundation is made from twigs, conifer needles, grass, bark, plant fibres, cloth and paper, lined with feathers, hair, down, rootlets, moss and lichen. It is placed up to 16 m above ground behind a flap of loose bark or in a crevice on a tree trunk, in a building or stone wall and occasionally hidden among or behind vegetation. Clutches are usually five to seven eggs. The diet is chiefly insect larvae and pupae, and spiders (Araneae) but also some seeds. The species is resident, with some altitudinal movements (Harrap 2015).


It is thought that the disappearance of old forests due to intensive forestry activities and the replacement of deciduous woodland with conifer plantations may drive declines in this species (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Certhia brachydactyla dorotheae is listed on Annex I of the EU Birds Directive. Bern Convention Appendix II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within Europe.

Conservation Actions Proposed
This species would benefit from the promotion and expansion of forest managed under low-intensity practices, as well as the preservation of old deciduous woodland.


Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Certhia brachydactyla. Downloaded from on 26/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/09/2023.