Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
Related to wryneck: piculet


common name for a primitive, unspecialized bird of the genus Jynx. The name is said to derive from their habit of twisting their necks when disturbed. Unlike other members of the family Picidae, which includes the woodpeckerswoodpecker,
common name for members of the Picidae, a large family of climbing birds found in most parts of the world. Woodpeckers typically have sharp, chisellike bills for pecking holes in tree trunks, and long, barbed, extensible tongues with which they impale their insect
..... Click the link for more information.
 and piculets, wrynecks neither climb nor drill, but rather perch horizontally and feed aground. Their bills are weaker and more rounded than those of true woodpeckers, and their long tongues are smooth, lacking the barbs and bristles of the other members of the group. They are thus thought to be ancestral to the more specialized members of the family. Two species of wrynecks are recognized: the migratory Eurasian wryneck (J. torquilla), and the tropical African wryneck (J. ruficollis). Both are solitary birds with soft, cryptically mottled plumage of grays, blacks, and browns. They feed on a number of insects but especially prefer ants. Like the other members of the family, they nest in unlined tree holes, where they lay their glossy, pure white eggs. The young are blind and featherless at birth. Wrynecks are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Piciformes, family Picidae.



(Jynx torquilla), a bird of the Picidae family. Length, 20 cm. Unlike woodpeckers, wrynecks cannot peck wood and have soft tailfeathers. They are distributed in Europe, Asia, and northwestern Africa. In the USSR they are found in mixed and broad-leaved forests and parks, north to the 62° or 64° parallel. They are migratory birds. Wrynecks begin breeding in May and nest in tree hollows and artificial nests, more rarely in burrows. There are 6 to 12 eggs in a clutch. When a nesting wryneck is disturbed, it stretches out its neck, turns it, and hisses. It feeds on insects, mostly ants, which it collects on anthills.


Ptitsy Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 1. Edited by G. P. Dement’ev and N. A. Gladkov. Moscow, 1951.




either of two cryptically coloured Old World woodpeckers, Jynx torquilla or J. ruficollis, which do not drum on trees
References in periodicals archive ?
A spokesman for the RSPB said wrynecks are small sparrow-sized birds, appearing greyish overall, with brown and buff mottling.
The present note is devoted to resolving the apparent implausibility of the learned name of the Eurasian wryneck, Jynx torquilla, a small species of woodpecker, having generated a popular word first attested in a Chicago newspaper from 1911: 'Dave Shean and "Peaches" Graham .
HMS Wryneck, the small boat that plucked him from the churning water, was also destroyed.
Three bird species have disappeared, the Kentish Plover, Wryneck, and red-backed shrike.
Occasional visitors include bittern, hoopoe and wryneck.
Further excitement for birdwatchers this autumn was caused by the finding of a Wryneck at Kenfig, hot on the heels of a Yellow-Browed Warbler at the same locality, but neither bird stayed around long.
The cork oaks and shrub communities near the lakes contain wood pigeon (Columba palumbus), turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur), black kite (Milvus migrans), green woodpecker (Picus viridis), great spotted woodpecker (Picoides [=Dendrocopos] major), wryneck (Jynx torquillo), Cetti's warbler (Cettia cetti), blackcap (Sylvia atricapillla), Bonelli's warbler (Phylloscopus bonelli), and serin (Serinus serinus).
Older fruit trees have nestholes for tits, tree sparrows and the rare wryneck, which has ceased to breed in England.
Up to 10 Spotted Redshanks and a Great White Egret are at Connah's Quay nature reserve, an Ortolan Bunting and Wryneck were found on Bardsey last Friday.
Other species of international conservation concern found in the traps were Great Reed Warbler, Nightjar, Golden Oriole, Wryneck, several species of shrikes, flycatchers and the local subspecies of the Scops Owl for which Cyprus has a special responsibility.
HMS Wryneck was hit shortly after the bedraggled soldier was dragged on board.