Universidade de Aveiro
The home page of Paulo J. S. G. Ferreira

Pictures of a Jynx torquilla

Jynx torquilla

This bird is a Jynx torquilla (order Piciformes, family Picidae, Woodpeckers). Its English and Portuguese common names are, respectively, Wryneck and Torcicolo. It is a Summer visitor to Europe (mostly May to September), and winters in Africa. Nest: uses existing tree-hole. Eggs: 7-10, white, 21 mm.

Jynx torquilla

Unlike other Woodpeckers, it does not climb using the tail as support. But just as many other Woodpeckers, it has a very long tongue, about five times the length of its bill, which it uses to reach and grasp the prey (favorite food: insects, especially ants).

The Wryneck easily escapes detection. Both sexes are alike, and look rather greyish unless a good view is obtained. At close range, the detailed patterning is apparent, and quite distinctive. This small AVI movie is also interesting: it illustrates its behavior when caught or scared. Note the snaking, twisting movements of neck (the reason for its common name).

I took these pictures on September 28, 2001, near Salreu, not far from Aveiro (about 14 km North). Ringing by Júlio Neto.