any of about 48 species of tropical American birds comprising the subfamily Dendrocolaptinae, family Furnariidae, order Passeriformes. Some authorities classify the birds as a separate family (Dendrocolaptidae). Woodcreepers work their way up the trunks of trees, probing the bark and leaves in search of insects; some species also feed on the ground. Most are 20-38 cm (8-15 inches) long (some smaller) and have brownish body plumage with pale streaks or bars on head and underparts; the wings and tail usually are reddish brown. In most species the laterally compressed bill is stout and moderately long; in a few it is downcurved or else wedge-shaped. The tail feathers are broad and stiff and serve as a prop in climbing. Flight from tree to tree is undulating.
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