Friday, 22 December 2017

Eurasian Wryneck - differently packaged woodpecker...

When you look at this bird you will be surprised when someone points out - well it's a woodpecker. Afterall when you see a bird of a family you have a picture in mind that says - here - that bird is a wagtail, that one is a crow - within that, you then shortlist that bird - it is a house crow or a Yellow Wagtail etc.

When I first saw it a few years back and I was told that it is a woodpecker with my fellow birder - my eyebrow raised and touched the already receding hairline... Okay, I might have gone too far with the description - I did not have that receding hairline till past year or so. Coming back to the bird - the Eurasian Wryneck. This woodpecker (take my word that it is a woodpecker till you read through) breeds in Temperate regions of Europe and Asia and then migrate to Africa, Iran and Subcontinent of Asia in winters. It is this time of the year that I start looking out for this bird. Well ever since I first saw it - I have been hunting it to get a good shot. It is said that a bird decides when you will get a good sighting of the bird and not your hunting and chasing it down. I have always got shots of this bird - that is every winter for past five years or so - but never the shot that I would have really really wanted so badly. A few days back that opportunity struck and I was ready.

The bird came, flew and settled in front of me - It was peering curiously at my camera...
A few moments of me remaining there without moving and it settled down for basking in the winter sun.

As I decided to move - the bird too moved a few feet with me - still giving the amazing view. Look at the feet - woodpecker like - second and third toes in front and first and fourth backwards...
The birds are about16-17 cm that translates to 6.5 inches or so. The bills are shorter and dragger like than average woodpeckers and that is one of the reason that they do not look like one at the first glance. The second reason is that they lack the stiff feathers of the woodpeckers so they prefer - not to hang on a tree trunk - more often perching like any other bird. That is the second reason that one can ordinarily not relate them to woodpeckers.
Distribution of Eurasian Wryneck. Yellow-summer, green-resident and blue-winters

However, like true woodpeckers, they have large heads, long tounges that they use to extract prey from insects from decaying wood or ground. They also have zygodactyl feet, with two toes pointing forward and two rearwards. They re-use the other woodpecker holes for nesting rather than making own holes.

One interesting point as to how these birds get their English name is their ability to turn their heads through almost 180 degrees. When disturbed in their nests, they use this snake-like head twisting and hissing as a threat display. This behaviour also led to use these birds in witchcraft for put a 'Jinx' on someone.

The sound of this bird is a must hear for someone not heard this bird before. Please find this embedded below. 


Wedding Ink said...

Thank you sharing information. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

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Haddock said...

Looks like it has really settled down.
Very peaceful.