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Wrynecks and woodpeckers

Male lesser spotted woodpecker on tree trunk

Image: Steve Round

There are many species of woodpeckers, but only two wrynecks, worldwide, but only three woodpeckers and one wryneck (a rare migrant) in the UK.

Woodpeckers are small to large birds, mostly boldly-patterned, sharing features such as a sharp, chisel-like bill, round head, broad wings and a stiff tail, often used as a prop when perched upright on a tree. They also have two toes facing forwards and two back to give a better grip on rounded branches.

Wrynecks are well-camouflaged, brown birds with shorter bills and normal tails.

Great spotted woodpecker

About blackbird-sized and striking black-and-white. It has a very distinctive bouncing flight and spends most of its time clinging to tree trunks and branches, often trying to hide on the side away fr... More...

Great spotted woodpecker

Green woodpecker

The green woodpecker is the largest of the three woodpeckers that breed in Britain. It has a heavy-looking body, short tail and a strong, long bill. It is green on its upperparts with a paler belly, b... More...

Green woodpecker

Lesser spotted woodpecker

The lesser spotted woodpecker is the smallest and least common of the three woodpeckers that are resident in Britain. The male is distinguished from the female by his bright red crown. It tends to nes... More...

Lesser spotted woodpecker

Wryneck

Wrynecks are small sparrow-sized birds, appearing greyish overall, with brown and buff mottling. They have a contrasting dark band running down from the back of the head onto the back. They feed almos... More...

Wryneck