Indian Spotted Creeper
The Indian spotted creeper (Salpornis spilonota) is a small passerine bird, which is a member of the subfamily Salpornithinae which is placed along with the treecreepers in the family Certhiidae. This small bird has a marbled black and white plumage that makes it difficult to spot as it forages on the trunks of dark, deeply fissured trees where it picks out insect prey using its curved bill. It is found in patchily distributed localities mainly in the dry scrub and open deciduous forests of northern and central peninsular India. It does not migrate. Their inclusion along with the treecreepers is not certain and some studies find them more closely related to the nuthatches while others suggest a close relation to the wallcreeper. They lack the stiff tail feathers of treecreepers and do not use their tail for supporting them while creeping vertically along tree trunks.
The Indian spotted creeper has grey and white spotted and barred plumage, clearly different from the treecreepers of the subfamily Certhiinae. It weighs up to 16 grams, twice as much as treecreepers of similar length (up to 15 cm). The Indian spotted creeper has a thin pointed down-curved bill, a bit longer than the head, that it uses to extricate insects from bark, but it lacks the stiff tail feathers which treecreepers use to prop themselves on the vertical surface of tree trunks. They have a whitish supercilium contrasting with a dark eye stripe and white on the throat. The wing is long and pointed with a highly reduced first primary feather. The tail has twelve feathers and is square tailed. The sexes are identical in plumage.