The Wryneck

Biology, Behaviour, Conservation and Symbolism of Jynx torquilla

  • The first ever detailed monograph on Jynx torquilla in English.
  • Includes a wealth of original research as well as a comprehensive literature review.
  • Illustrated throughout with excellent photographs and original sound spectrograms.

    • birds
    • Coming Soon
    • ornithology


    This book details the natural history and cultural symbolism of a most unusual woodpecker – a species that neither excavates nest holes in trees, nor bores into wood to find insect prey. The elusive Wryneck is best renowned for performing a twisting, writhing head and neck display when threatened, but this ground-breaking study reveals many more secrets of its behaviour and evolution. Detailed information is presented on the species' origins, taxonomy, anatomy, appearance, moult, calls, distribution, conservation status, habitats, movements, breeding, diet and relationships, along with a chapter on its closest relative, the Red-throated Wryneck.

    The text is richly illustrated throughout with high quality photographs as well as sound spectrograms. This all-encompassing and engaging account has been written for a wide audience, whether professional ornithologist, citizen scientist, amateur birder, woodpecker aficionado and simply someone who wishes to learn more about this curious and remarkable bird.


    About the Author

    Gerard Gorman is a global authority on the Picidae. He has published numerous papers and six previous books on this fascinating family of birds, including Woodpeckers of the World: The Complete Guide(Helm 2014) and The Green Woodpecker (Picus Press 2020). For the past 30 years he has travelled the world studying woodpeckers, believing that time in the field is the only way to really get to know them. In this book, the author augments many hours watching wrynecks with comprehensive literature research, creating what will surely be the definitive work on the species. Gorman lives in Budapest and is a founder member and current leader of the Hungarian Woodpecker Working Group.

    Bibliographic Information

    • 216 pages
    • 128 col illus, 5 spectrograms, 2 maps
    • BISAC SCI070040, NAT043000, SCI087000