Wryneck (Yunx Torquilla Linn), a small bird of the woodpecker family, so called from its habit of turning the head in various directions; it has also been named snake bird for the same reason. It is about 7 in. long, of a rusty ash color, irregularly spotted and speckled with brown and black; the colors are prettily distributed, and the form is elegant. The bill is short, straight, and acute; the tongue extensile, ending in a simple horny tip; wings pointed, the first quill very short, and the third the longest; tail rounded, and its feathers soft; the two anterior toes joined together at their origin, and the two posterior unconnected. It is a summer visitor to Great Britain and N. Europe, spending the winter in N. Africa and the warm parts of W. Asia; it arrives in April and leaves early in September, so nearly at the same time with the cuckoo that it has been called the cuckoo's mate. Though having many of the habits of woodpeckers, it does not associate with them; the food consists principally of insects, and sometimes berries; it generally feeds on the ground; the eggs are 6 to 10, white, and laid in holes dug in trees.
Wryneck (Yunx torquilla).