Conservation efforts for the wryneck are being nationally coordinated and strengthened.


  • Conservation and promotion of wryneck populations in core areas
  • Promotion of the wryneck in potentially suitable areas with currently low densities
  • Promoting connectivity of existing populations
  • Identifying limiting factors and working out suitable conservation measures
  • Coordinating the conservation activities in Switzerland


The project to promote the wryneck shall be implanted in steps:

1. Improving knowledge on the distribution and state of populations of the wryneck in Switzerland

  • Compiling data on breeding populations and population trends; illustrating gaps; possibly conducting specific mapping projects in potentially suitable areas.
  • Development of a GIS-based habitat suitability model for Switzerland. The model is thought as a decision support and should show which areas have potentially high suitability for the species and where conservation projects might take place.

2. Coordination and enhancement of the national and regional promotion of the wryneck

  • Collaboration with the Swiss Association for the Protection of Birds SVS/BirdLife Switzerlandand local ornithologists during the implementation of conservation projects in specific areas with high potential habitat suitability for the wryneck
  • Identifying limiting factors and enhancing habitat quality with targeted conservation measures
  • Organisation of periodic meetings and information exchange among the species specialists


This species recovery project aims at improving connectivity of areas with existing wryneck populations. This is relevant for the long-term existence of the species in Switzerland. Aside from the wryneck, other threatened species such as the hoopoe or the common redstart will benefit from the conservation measures.


The ecological basis for the promotion of the wryneck has been laid in the joint research project of the Swiss Ornithological Institute and the Division of Conservation Biology at the University of Bern conducted in the Valais (south-western Switzerland). Territories of wrynecks are characterized by a high density of ant nests, a large availability of nesting cavities and a substantial share of open ground. Thanks to the initiative of local nature conservation societies and ornithologists, cavity availability in suitable habitats could be strongly increased by means of nest boxes, resulting in the successful promotion of wryneck populations in the Valais, in other regions of western Switzerland (Geneva, Vaud, region of the lakes Neuchâtel and Biel) and in parts of the Grisons

Further information (in German and French) is available in the “hoopoe-wryneck newsletter”.

Project management

Michael Lanz, Michael Schaub, Reto Spaar


Lokale Ornithologinnen und Ornithologen
Federal Office for the Environment FOEN
Swiss Association for the Protection of Birds SVS/BirdLife Switzerland

Financial support

Stiftung Yvonne Jacob
Ella und J. Paul Schnorf Stiftung
Rudolf und Romilda Kägi-Stiftung


Van Wijk, R.E., G. Souchay, S. Jenni-Eiermann, S. Bauer, M. Schaub (2016):
No detectable effects of lightweight geolocators on a Palaearctic-African long-distance migrant.
Van Wijk, R. E., M. Schaub, D. Tolkmitt, D. Becker & S. Hahn (2013):
Short-distance migration of Wrynecks Jynx torquilla from Central European populations.
Tagmann-Ioset, A., M. Schaub, T. S. Reichlin, N. Weisshaupt & R. Arlettaz (2012):
Bare ground as a crucial habitat feature for a rare terrestrially foraging farmland bird of Central Europe.
Weisshaupt, N., R. Arlettaz, T. S. Reichlin, A. Tagmann-Ioset & M. Schaub (2011):
Habitat selection by foraging Wrynecks Jynx torquilla during the breeding season: identifying the optimal habitat profile.
Coudrain, V., R. Arlettaz & M. Schaub (2010):
Food or nesting place? Identifying factors limiting Wryneck populations.
Schaub, M., N. Zbinden, N. Martinez, M. Maurer, A. Ioset, R. Spaar, N. Weisshaupt & R. Arlettaz (2008):
Végétation clairsemée, un habitat important pour la faune. Fiche Info