Co-existence of three species of treecreepers in North-Eastern New South Wales
79(3) 120 - 128
The White-throated Climacteris leucophaea, Red-browed C. erythrops and Brown C. picumnus Treecreepers are sympatric in south-eastern Australia. All three appear to feed largely on ants. I compared the ecology and behaviour of these birds in the non-breeding season of 1976 at Wollomombi Falls, forty kilometres east of Armidale, NSW. Here the three species occur in the same habitat and may be seen foraging on the same trees at the same time.
The Brown spent almost half its time on the ground or on lwgs but the Red-browet and Whitethroated foraged almost entirely on trees. The last two species occurred at similar helghts and on branches of similar sizes but an different types of trees and had different foraging techniques. The White-throated mostly foraged by pecking and excavating pieces of bark from rough-barked trees such as stringybarks. The Red-browed typically peered and probed into ribbons of bark hanging from smoothbarked trees such as Yellow Box Eucalyptus melliodora. These two species also differed in social organization; the White-throated was territorial and usually solitary but the Red-browed occurred in groups of three or four individuals.
In aggressive encounters the larger Brown Treecreeper dominated the other two. The Red-browed always dominated the White-throated although these two species are similar in size.
Full text doi:10.1071/MU9790120
© Royal Australian Ornithologists Union 1979