Animals / Birds

Eurasian wryneck


Вертише́йка, обыкновенная вертишейка (ру.)

Wendehals (de.)

Torcecuello (es.)


Order — Piciformes.

Family — Picidae.

Subfamily — Jynginae.

Genus — Jynx.

Species — Jynx torquilla.


Open woodland, deciduous or mixed, clearings and edges of forest, orchards, parks and large gardens. Nest in a tree-hole. Occurs in a range of more open habitats on passage including cultivated areas, close-cropped grassland, sand-dunes and shingle beaches.

Breeds widely across Europe from northern Iberia and western France east to the Urals, Caspian and north Caucasus and across temperate Asia to China and northern Japan. In the north virtually absent from British Isles but breeds over most of Scandinavia except the higher mountains and the far north, and across Russia south of 650N. Breeds south to the northern coast of the Mediterranean from north-east Spain to northern Greece and on Mallorca, Ibiza, Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. Also breeds sparingly in southern Portugal and in north Algeria.

Mainly a summer visitor but in the far south of range may be partially migratory or resident. Main autumn passage period is August-October, the return in April-May. Passage birds occur throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and southern Asia. Winters in tropical Africa, India, South-East Asia, southernChina and southern Japan.

Formerly a regular and fairly widespread breeder in Britain, now mainly a scarce passage migrant with 200-400 birds per year, mainly in August-October, with occasional summering birds and sporadic breeding records. Similar declines have been seen elsewhere in Europe, particularly in northern France and in North Sea countries.

Accidental vagrant to Alaska (two records).

Внешний вид

Length: 16-18 cm.

Weight: 26-50 g.

The wryneck is an unusual-looking bird, at times resembling both a large warbler and a small bird of prey.

Plumage is barred irregularly with dark brown markings and the bird has a noticeable dark line running from the base of the bill, through the eye and down the side of the neck, virtually to the shoulder of the wing.

Upper body is mottled brown and grey.

Underside is dirty white.

Buffish-ochre breast dark vermiculated.

Whitish belly dark vermiculated.

Bill is short and pointed.

The song is a series of whining ‘tie-tie’ notes, and there is usually a pause between sets of calls. The alarm note is a hard ‘teck-teck’ sound, but the bird also hisses like a snake and can twist its head in a rather snake-like manner, hence its common English name. Like other woodpeckers, its ability to climb the vertical surface of a tree is aided by the stiff tail and the fact that two of its toes point forward and the other two face backwards.

Both male and female birds are alike.


Feeds mostly on ants, larvae and pupae, and other insects. Frequently forages on ground, occasionally in trees.


Psittacosis, Pseudomonosis, Salmonellosis, Sinus infection, Hystrichosis, Cheilospirurosis, Duodenitis, Bronchitis.


Breeding season from May to June, in south of range a second clutch is sometimes laid in June or July. Places the nest in an old woodpecker hole, a natural cavity or in a nest box. Lays 7 to 12 white eggs.

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