Eurasian Wryneck is a very unusual member of the Woodpecker family, with a
normal range that spans across much of Europe and Asia. In North
America, they are known from a handful of sightings in extreme western
in February of 2000, a dead Eurasian Wryneck was found in Indiana.
The source of the Indiana bird is in question, but it is possible it was a
natural lost migrant, given the species strong migratorial tendencies.
The term "Wryneck" refers to their capability to turn their heads 180
degrees, a capability they take advantage of when disturbed, as they will
turn their heads and hiss at threats.
Habitat: Found in open forests, woodland
clearings, and brushy areas.
Diet: Feeds heavily on insects, with a very strong
preference for feeding on ants.
Behavior: Spends most of its time on the ground,
foraging for ants and other insects. They only rarely will forage in
Nesting: Nests in cavities, using existing
cavities built by other species rather than excavating its own.
Migration: Breeds across a very large swath of
Europe and northern Asia. Highly migratory, with birds wintering in
central Africa and southern Asia.
Definitely unique compared to any other woodpecker species that has been
seen in North America.
Conservation Status: Populations may be in decline
globally, but they are still found over a wide geographic range and are
relatively common in some areas.
The IUCN lists the
Eurasian Wryneck as a species of "Least Concern".