This web page uses its own cookies and the third-party cookies to collect the information which help us make the service as good as possible. By no means is our intention to use it for gathering personal data.

Cookies policy



Common name Eurasian wryneck
Scientific name Jynx torquilla
Type Forest birds
Status Summer

Small bird (approx 17 cm or 6.5 in). Very cryptic plumage. Greyish brown back, very dotted and barred with lighter and darker tones. Similar underparts but with paler tones. Somewhat more rufous neck and wings. There is no sexual dimorphism. Small bill as opposed to that of other woodpeckers, family to which it belongs.


Woodland environment

Where it lives

Forest species with a preference for partially wooded stands, especially groves, riverbank forests, gallery forests, island copses, meadows, olive groves and above all tamarisk formations, eucalyptus groves, poplar and elm forests near streams.

How it lives

Summer species in the province, that also hosts wintering specimens from northern Europe. In mid-April and early May the Eurasian Wryneck delimits its territory with loud calls (one of the best ways to detect it) and inspects it to look for holes to nest. This bird is not capable of drilling the wood, so it reuses the holes of European Green or Great Spotted woodpeckers. One annual laying of 7 to 10 eggs. The diet is based on insects, especially ants, and other invertebrates. This wryneck uses its long tongue to look for them between cracks and under the bark, but also hunts on the fly. It can be seen perched on the ground or on horizontal branches of trees and does not climb vertically like other woodpeckers.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Species difficult to observe, although relatively frequent. The wintering population (different to the summer one) can be watched in the groves of the mouth of the Vélez river, the low course of the Guadalhorce and some fluvial channels of coastal rivers. The summer population is more widely distributed. It appears in the area of Entrerríos (Mijas), rivers and streams of the Serrania de Ronda and the valleys of Genal and Guadiaro, low course of the Guadalhorce (between Campanillas and Álora), Low Axarquía, reservoirs of Guadalteba, the Hoz de Marín (Archidona) and forest masses linked to coastal fluvial courses. In the Great Path it is present in stages 12, 23, 25, 27, 28 and 29, among others.

Curious facts

The Latin name of the Eurasian Wryneck ("Jynx", from the Greek, "call attention", "torquilla", from the Latin, "twisting movement with the head") makes reference to its defensive strategy. When it feels threatened it lengthens and shrinks the neck and moves the head slowly in cycles of 180 degrees thanks to a special vertebra. At the same time the bird emits cries and snorts and bristles the feathers of the head. In reality what it does is imitating a snake that hisses in angered to defend its nest.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration