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Eurasian Wryneck

Jynx torquila

A Eurasian wryneck inspecting a nesting box. Photo Jouni Kannonlahti.

General information. The Eurasian wryneck is a member of the woodpecker family. It cannot excavate holes of itself for nesting like other species of the woodpecker, but rather re-uses old holes and nesting boxes. It usually cleans out the nesting hole thoroughly before laying its eggs. This peculiar characteristic has also given it its Finnish name, ‘käenpiika’, meaning ‘cuckoo’s maid’. The Eurasian wryneck is a near threatened species according to Finland’s threat classification system.

  • Length 17 cm
  • Nests in holes in trees or nesting boxes
  • Winters in tropical Africa
  • Feeds on ants and their larvae

Habitat. The wryneck nests in forests, nearby human settlements in the countryside, and in the fringes of city parks. Sunny, dry, peaty forests are just as suitable a biotope as a lush waterfront grove.

Distribution in Vaasa. There are few wrynecks nesting in Vaasa. During nesting season it was observed in about 35 survey blocks with the majority of observations in forests near human settlements. No observations were made among nesting birds in the city centre or in the archipelago.