Wryneck Woodpecker Bird is an atypical woodpecker, small and slim with the appearance of a passerine. Wryneck Woodpecker Bird is intricately patterned with a complex array of barring, mottling and speckling. The upperparts have a soft grey ground colour, patterned with blackish stripes on the crown, through the eye and onto the neck sides, a larger patch on the back, and a blackish line along the scapulars. The brown wings are subtly marked. The underparts are buffish scalloped black, richer on the throat and whiter on the belly. The tail is rather long and grey, with faint black cross-bars.
Formerly breeding quite widely in England and Wales, Wryneck Woodpecker Bird had become extinct by the 1970s although occasional breeding has occurred in Scotland since then . It remains widespread in Europe. Most likely to be encountered in Britain as an autumn migrant on the east coast during easterly winds, when it can be found in scrub and bushes. Its breeding habitat is open woodland, orchards, parks, gardens, scrubby pastures and forest edge, with a preference for deciduous trees. It does not excavate its own nest hole, so breeding is dictated by the availability of holes and also by open bare ground, where its favourite food of ants is available.
The advertising call is given by both sexes, occasionally in duet, and only during the breeding season. Wryneck Woodpecker Bird is a rather shrill and repeated "kew'ke w'kew'kew'kew'kew'kew'kew'...", with a slight rise and fall in tone over the whole sequence. The "kew" note is typically repeated 12-15 times, but regularly up to 30 times at a rate of 6 notes per second. It is most similar to the call of a Hobby, and also resembles that of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, although stronger and more metallic sounding. It gives hard "tuck" notes in alarm, typically when close to the nest, and a hissing sound when alarmed at the nest itself.