Red Crossbill 

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Loxia Curvirostra

Red Crossbill

Males have a brick-red plumage, dark grayish-brown wings, and blackish-brown cleft tail. Sometimes, they appear yellowish or orange-red and mottled greenish-yellow and red.

Their mantle and back may show some darker feathers and often have a rump in a brighter color. Their head is dull red with brighter colors on forehead and crown, they have a large bill with crossed mandible tips, which is thick and curved.

The eyes are dark brown, legs and feet are black.

Females are dull greenish-yellow, with yellower rump, upperparts are slightly streaked, and some are duller with grayish colors.

Juveniles are grayish-brown, heavily streaked dark overall, whitish streaked underparts and thin buffy wing bars, formed by pale fringes on fresh feathers.

They resemble adult females, but some juvenile males may show reddish or mixed red and yellow plumage.

BILL: large, crossed mandible tips.

SIZE: measures about 5.9 - 6.7 inches in length, with a wingspan of 9.8 - 10.6 inches.

WEIGHT: weighs about 34 - 48 grams.

COLOR: brick-red, grayish-brown, blackish- brown, yellow, orange-red, greenish-yellow, dark brown, black, greenish-yellow, buff, and gray.

Seeds of conifers, but they also consume buds of trees, weed seeds, berries and insects (aphids).

They utter loud, persistent and explosive “chip-chip” calls.

A harsh “chewk” when alarmed or excited, and a ringing flight call “jip-jip-jip”.

Their song is a trill followed by Greenfinch like calls, but more varied.

NEST: The female builds a bulky cup made of loose twigs, grass and bark strips, lined with finer material such as grass, lichen, feathers, and hair.

Winter nests are more compact than summer nests.

EGGS: 3 - 4 pale blue-green eggs, spotted with brown and lavender.

INCUBATION: 12 - 16 days, female.

They are social throughout the year, even during the nesting season.

They feed mainly on conifer seeds, extracting the seeds with their crossed bill.

Coniferous forests, spruces or pines.

North America, southern Alaska to Newfoundland, and southwards to northern United States, North Carolina, and Central America.

Also across Northern Eurasia, northern Africa, south-eastern Asia, and the Philippines.

The oldest recorded Red Crossbill was a male, and at least 8 years old.

Red Crossbill Infographic




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