Migratory bird in spring (mid-March – April) and in autumn (September – October). Some birds might stay over winter, while some possibly breed on the island, at least occasionally. It overwinters along a line just below sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent and SE Asia. It migrates and breeds in Europe and as far as eastern to SE Asia, along a wide line in central part of Asian continent.
It belongs to the woodpecker family, but unlike other members of the family it doesn’t make its own holes but uses those already opened by other species. It also doesn’t climb on trees vertically but sits on branches horizontally. It feeds mainly on ants. It’s a small bird, slightly bigger than a sparrow, with a relatively long tail.
Coloring dappled brown with a bit of grey on back, striped beige throat and whitish striped belly. It also has dark contrasting brown stripes along the eyes and the back. Its coloring gives it a very good camouflage when it sits on branches or on the ground. Its Cypriot name ‘Therkopoulli’, comes from the way it turns its head and takes its tongue out of the beak resembling a snake, if it’s caught to scare its ‘enemy’.