The Wryneck (Yunx torquilla), allied to the Pieidae or Woodpeckers, is characterized by its short, straight, and sharp-pointed bill, nostrils partly hidden by a membrane, pointed wings, tail rounded, and its feathers soft and downy, tarsi scaled and partly covered with feathers, and two front toes united at their base. It derives its familiar designation of wryneck from its habit of twisting its head in a curious manner. It appears with or just before the cuckoo, arriving in Britain in April, and hence popularly named the "Cuckoo's Mate." The colour is a mixture of shades of brown and grey, and the average length is 7 in., the female being slightly smaller. It is tolerably common in the southern counties of England, but is very seldom, if ever, seen in the north and west. The nest is formed in the holes of trees; the eggs, six to ten, laid on the bare wood, are pure white. The tongue is long, like that of the woodpeckers, and the food consists of insects, chiefly ants, and pests infesting stems and branches of trees.

It departs from Britain in August or September.