1003. Iynx torquilla

1003. Iynx torquilla.

The Common Wryneck.

Yunx torquilla, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 172 (1766) Blyth, J. A. S. B. xvi, p. 467 ; id. Cat. p. 65; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 679; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 303; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 22; id. S. F. ii, p. 461; Brooks, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 74; Butler, S. F. in, p. 459 ; v, p. 227; ix, p. 386 ; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 206 ; Hume, Cat. no. 188 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 120. Jynx torquilla, Blyth, Ibis, 1866, pp. 356, 357. Iynx torquilla, Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 49; Scully, ibid. p. 430; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 23; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 65; Hargitt, Cat. B. M. xviii, p. 560; Salvadori, Ann. Mus. Civ. Gen. (2) vii, p. 380; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 318; Sharpe, Yark. Miss., Aves, p. 110.

Gardan eyengtha, H.; Meda nulingadu, Tam.

Coloration. Above brownish grey, finely speckled and mottled : a dark brown patch, unevenly coloured, from nape to middle of back, another across the coverts of each wing, a few longitudinal dark streaks on the lower back and rump, and some imperfect ocelli on the wing-coverts ; quills brown, with numerous rufous spots on both webs; tail with narrow wavy black cross-bands; sides of head, throat, and fore neck pale rufous with dark cross-lines, a dark patch on the ear-coverts; breast and abdomen white, with arrow-head-shaped dark marks.

Bill brown, iris hazel; legs and feet greenish brown (Oates).

Length 7.5 ; tail 2.8; wing 3.4 ; tarsus .8; bill from gape .85.

Distribution. A winter vistor to the plains of India and Burma, extending south to Madras (Jerdon) and Belgaum (Butler), and in Burma to Pegu (Oates) and Karennee (Wardlaw Ramsay, Fea). Not recorded from the Malabar coast, Ceylon, nor Tenasserim. Found in summer in Kashmir and Gilgit. Outside of India the Wryneck is found in summer throughout the greater part of Europe, Central and Northern Asia, and in winter in parts of Africa.

Habits, &c. The "Wryneck is generally seen on low trees or bushes or in high grass. It feeds on various insects, chiefly ants, which it sometimes captures on the ground. It has a peculiar plaintive call. It but rarely climbs trees like a "Woodpecker, pressing its tail against the bark, though it has been seen to do so. The name is derived from a habit it has of twisting its head round. It has not been known to breed in the plains of India, but Brooks and Stoliczka have found it nesting in Kashmir. The eggs are laid in Europe about May in a hole not always made by the bird, often in a lime-tree. The hole is not lined. The eggs are white, 7 to 12 in number, and measure about .81 by .64.

Yunx indica, Gould (Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 304), is now known to have been founded on a specimen of an African species, I. pectoralis. The supposed Afghan or Tibetan locality must have been a mistake.

The second order of Picarian birds comprises the Indicators or Honey-guides, the Barbets, and the Toucans (Rhamphastidae), the last being peculiar to South America. All of these have zygodactyle feet like Woodpeckers, with the first and fourth toes directed backwards, and the picine arrangement of the deep plantar tendons, the flexor perforans digitorum running to the third toe only, whilst the first, second, and fourth toes are supplied by branches of the flexor longus hallucis, as shown in the accompanying figure by Garrod. The muscles of the thigh, too, in the present group, present the same arrangement as in Pici ; the spinal feather-tract is similarly disposed, the oil-gland is tufted, and there are no caeca. The nidification, too, is similar.

On the other hand, the vomer in the present group, instead of being represented by a number of paired rods, is single and bifurcate, and the palate is either truly desmognathous, the maxillo - palatines blending across the middle line, or aegithognathous. The sternum, too, presents some characteristic differences, being much broader, especially in front, in proportion to its length, and the breadth in front being nearly the same as that behind, instead of much less; the foramina or notches on the posterior border are deeper, the manubrium or rostrum sterni is pointed and not bifid, and the clavicles do not meet to form a furcula. Tongue of ordinary structure, not protrusile.

The two Indian families of this order are thus distinguished (the characters do not apply to some African forms) :—

Tail-feathers 12; primaries 9…………………………. Indicatoridae.
Tail-feathers 10; primaries 10………………………….Capitonidae.

The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.3 1895.
Title in Book: 
1003. Iynx torquilla
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Common name: 
Common Wryneck
Eurasian Wryneck
Jynx torquilla
Vol. 3
Term name: 

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