Small bird (about 17 cm or 6.5 in) with grey plumage except for the wings, which are red and black with white spots. The wings are very striking in flight. When perched it opens and closes its wings spasmodically in an almost uninterrupted manner. During the breeding period, the male's throat and breast are black. Long, thin and curved bill. Butterfly-like flight, like that of the hoopoe or some woodpeckers: wavy and opening and closing the wings completely.
Where it lives
Exclusively rupicolous species, linked to the existence of extensive and vertical rock walls, with scarce vegetation and almost always limestone. It is an exclusive bird of the high zones of the main European mountain ranges and in the Iberian Peninsula its breeding population is limited to the peaks of the Picos de Europa and the Pyrenees.
How it lives
Wintering bird in the province. It breeds in May. Nest in cracks or holes in the vertical wall. One laying of 3 to 5 eggs. Insectivore. The Wallcreeper feeds on small insects that captured exclusively among the cracks of the rocks, with a preference for spiders. This bird moves with extraordinary ease around the rocky walls, which it explores meticulously in search of small invertebrates, moving from one point to another of the wall with short flights. It performs altitudinal movements or small migrations from its breeding settlements, rarely more than 1,000 kilometers away (more than 600 miles), which is why it can be observed in the province.
Where it can be seen in Malaga
Rare or little frequent species in Malaga. It is watched repeatedly although irregularly in Sierra Tejeda and in the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes (Gaitanes Gorge), in the mountains of El Chorro.
Wallcreepers have been reported to have also been watched in human environments, such as old stone churches or walls of dams, living in them in the same way as in natural cliffs. A couple came to spend the winter in a building at the University of Amsterdam. In Chinese culture, this bird is known as "rock flower" because of its colourful plumage and behaviour and the environment in which it usually lives. In Spain its popular name is "pájaro arañero" ("spider bird") due to its favourite food.