About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Remarkable Jinx bird has the moves of a snake

Photo by XimoGalarza
The Eurasian Wrynecks (Jynx torquilla) get their common name from their ability to turn their heads almost 180 degrees. When alarmed, they can hiss and twist their neck in snake-like movements as a threat display. Their unique courtship ritual also has the male and female perched opposite each another, shaking their heads, and gaping their mouths to show the pink inside. These curious behaviors made people think that the wryneck was linked to witchcraft and would give people bad luck or "jinx" them.

The wrynecks are a small group of Old World woodpeckers that have large heads, long tongues and zygodactyl feet, with two toes pointing forward, and two backwards.

However their bills are shorter and less dagger-like and they lack the stiff tail feathers that the true woodpeckers use when climbing trees. For nesting they re-use other woodpecker holes rather than making their own. And their main food sources are ants and other insects found in decaying wood or on the ground.

The Eurasian Wryneck breeds in temperate regions of Europe and Asia and migrates to the tropical Africa and southern Asia to winter.

Watch a sample of their head twisting in the video below or at: http://youtu.be/LD52NLJw4Pk

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