Wryneck - Jynx torquilla


The Wryneck is a small woodpecker just slightly larger than a sparrow - appearing greyish overall, with brown and buff mottling. They have a contrasting dark band running down from the back of the head onto the back.

Identification difficulty

The Wryneck is still a regular autumn migrant in small numbers mainly to sites near eastern and southern coasts, and a few are also seen each spring. Occasionally seen in gardens in autumn.

When to see it

Best looked for on autumn passage in August and September but can be seen in spring, usually May.

Life History

They feed almost exclusively on ants and, unlike most other woodpeckers, are seen mainly on the ground and do not often climb up vertical trunks or branches.

UK Status

Very uncommon in Britain with birds of passage usually less than 300.

VC55 Status

A very rare visitor to Leicestershire and Rutland.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map