Wryneck / Jynx torquilla / لواء

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Status: Very common

The Wryneck belongs to the Picidae family in the Piciformes order. It is 16-18 cm in size and 25-38 grams in weight. Its head and back are gray with a brown line that goes from the back of the neck down to the center of the back. On the wings there are brown-gray spots and across the gray tail there are three dark horizontal stripes. A brown eye-stripe goes all the way to the base of the wing, the under parts are striped horizontally, the throat is yellowish and the belly is white. All together the coloration of the Wryneck resembles that of a bark of a tree which gives it great camouflage. There is no difference between the sexes in appearance. The Wryneck isn’t climbing vertically on trees like the rest of the woodpeckers, and resembles more of song bird in its behavior. It jumps across horizontal branches or on the grounds and collects insects (its favorite food is ants) from the leaves or from bare ground. The meaning of its scientific name – Jynx in Latin means witchcraft which probably refers to the fact that due to its snake like head and neck movements and its hissing calls the Wryneck was used in ancient witchcraft and sorcery ceremonies. Torquilla in Latin means spin and that’s referring to its ability to spin its head and neck (that also the reason for its English name - Wryneck). The Wryneck is usually found in open lands with trees or orchards, an open forest or in parks. The Wryneck breeds throughout most of Europe, from Spain in the west to Scandinavia in the north and eastwards throughout central Asia to Japan and also including parts of north-west Africa. Most of the populations are migratory and It winters in central Africa, south of the Sahara and also in south Asia. It likes relatively dry areas and therefore it usually doesn't continue to tropical areas. There are some resident populations in south-west Europe and north-west Africa. In Palestine it’s a very common migrant and a rare winterer.

International conservation status: LC

Migratory behaviour: Migration