Page 29||prev page next page|
Tail-feathers soft, flexible; tail about three quarters the length of wing or more; nostrils not covered by plumes, but partially covered by a membrane. This subfamily contains the Wrynecks, which form a single genus.
Genus IYNX, Linn., 1766
Bill of moderate length, conical, compressed; nostrils large, near the culmen; wing pointed; plumage soft, brownish grey in colour, minutely speckled. Sexes alike. Four species are known, three of which are confined to Africa; the fourth is a migratory bird, visiting India and Burma in winter.
lynx torquilla Common Wryneck
Coloration: Above brownish grey, finely speckled and mottled; a dark brown patch, unevenly colored, 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 foreneck 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).
Size: Length 7.5; tail 2.8; wing 3.4; tarsus 0.8; bill from gape 0.85.
Distribution: A winter visitor 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: 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 0.81 by 0.64.
Yunx indica, Gould (Jerdon B.I.i, p.304), is now known to have been
founded on a specimen of an Africa species, I. pectoralis. The
supposed Afghan or Tibetan locality must have been a mistake.
|prev page :: next page|