A member of the woodpecker family, the Red-throated Wryneck is a specialist species tied closely to moist grasslands with a meagre scattering of trees. They feed mainly on the ground, dining exclusively on ants and termites, licking them up with an exceptionally long and sticky tongue.
Red-throated Wrynecks are usually encountered singly or in pairs. The breed in cavities in trees (either natural or crafted by barbets and woodpeckers) through the spring and summer seasons. Both parents take turns to incubate the clutch of 1-6 eggs over a two week period, with the chicks remaining in the nest for about a month after hatching and then becoming independent soon after fledging.
The Red-throated Wryneck has a very patchy distribution over sub-Saharan Africa. The IUCN considers the species to be of least concern, siting a growing population, especially in South Africa where exotic trees planted in the grassland biomes have created opportunity for expansion of both its range and numbers. In our country they are found over most of the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Kwazulu-Natal, extending marginally into the Limpopo Province.