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The snake-like moves of the Eurasian wryneck

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The origin of putting a ‘jinx‘ on someone has everything to do with this bird: The Eurasian wryneck or Jynx torquilla. To ward off predators, these harmless birds bend and twist their heads around in a snake-like way. They also reportedly hiss. Long ago, this behavior was superstitiously associated with or used as a part of spells, curses, and witchcraft, hence the jinx.

National Geographic introduces this small old world woodpecker in the video above. The original footage was filmed at Gedser Bird Observatory & Ringing Station in Denmark:

Eurasian wrynecks can be found across Europe, Asia, and south of the Saraha desert in Africa. Here’s another look at a wryneck filmed in Hungary:

Next, watch the Brown Owl’s remarkable head stability and the American Kestrel falcon’s head stabilization. Plus: The Black Egret’s Umbrella Trick.

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