Jynx torquilla

The Birds of Europe
Vol.3 - Plate No. 233

Length: 18 cm

The Wryneck is a relative of the woodpecker and is found throughout Eurasia. In Japan they are seen throughout as winter visitor. The Japanese name "ari-sui" (ant-sucker) refers to their habit of extending their long, sticky tongues peculiar to woodpeckers into ant's nests to eat ants. When captured by hand, the Wryneck would move its head eerily like a snake to scare its captor. In ancient Europe this grotesque movement has led to the belief that this bird possesses evil magic, its scientific name "jynx" meaning "ominous".