Wryneck (Jynx torquilla):
The least woodpecker-like woodpecker of the region, with a longish tail that makes it more like a small brown shrike or a large warbler. 16-17 cm, 25-38 g, wingspan 26 cm. Longer tail, straight bill, plumage greyish, with a prominent black stripe through the eye and a finely barred yillowish throat, and brown underparts.
Races vary mainly in size, depth of coloration and some other details. Race sarudnyi as nominate or somewhat smaller, with upperparts purer and paler grey and throat, chest and flanks much paler buff and generally whiter, all with less numerous vermiculations, dark bars and spots.
Race tschsii differs distinctly from nominate in being smaller and darker and in having more rounded wing, also has grey ground color of upperparts much darker and with better developed heavier and more blackish stripes through central hind crown to mantle and scapulars. Their habit of twisting their heads in a peculiarly snake-like manner gives them a rather mechanical appearance.
Wrynecks usually nest in a natural hole in a tree, but they will also make use of holes n walls and nest boxes. They have been known to evict other species of birds already in residence and their noisy activities at the nest site sometimes give away their presence. They lay up to ten pale grey-green – almost white – eggs during May, which are usually incubated by the female bird for 12 to 14 days. The young wrynecks are fed on ants and ant larvae for about three weeks, both parent birds attending to the task. If food supplies are good, the birds may attempt a second brood during July and August.
Wrynecks have a preference for old woods and orchards, the chief requirement being a reliable source of ants, the birds’ main food. Mostly found on elevation ranging between Altitude 0 – 3,300 meters.
Food and Feeding:
Diet based on ants, also insectes, spiders and ccasionally fruits in season.
Monogamous, solitary,. Nest in natural cavity, sometimes old woodpecker hole. 5-10 eggs, incubation 12-13 days.
Northern and eastern populations migratory, but partially migratory to resident in Mediterranean countries.
Nominate migrants through Europe and Middle East into Africa. Reputedly also in small part through Turkestan into Pakistan and W India.