Male Crossbill

Crossbill

Scientific name: Loxia curvirostra

Did you know: The Crossbill is named for its unique beak, where the mandibles cross at the tips, a remarkable adaptation for extracting seeds from conifer cones.

What Do Crossbills Look Like? (how to identify them)

Crossbills are part of the finch family and are known for their distinctive beaks and crossed tips. 

Adult males typically display vibrant red or orange plumage, while females can be green or yellow. However, there’s a significant variation in their colouration.

Differences Between Male And Female Crossbills

Male and female Crossbills can be distinguished by their colour. Males are often a bold red or orange, whereas females usually have a more subdued green or yellow hue.

What Do Crossbills Eat?

These birds feed on conifer cones. Their unique bill shape is an evolutionary adaptation, enabling them to adeptly extract seeds from these cones.

Where Do Crossbills Live? (inc. migration info)

Crossbills are often found in the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere, thriving in coniferous forests. They exhibit irruptive behaviour, moving out of their breeding range when cone crops are insufficient. 

Interestingly, they breed early in the year, usually in winter, to capitalise on the availability of cone supplies.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Crossbills)

Crossbills have a varied vocal range. Their calls and songs play a vital role in their social interactions, especially during the breeding season. They exhibit distinctive sounds, which differ slightly among the various species and populations.

Fun Crossbill Facts (kid friendly)

  • Crossbills can be either right or left ‘handed’, depending on which way their bill tips cross.
  • They are known for their vibrant plumage, with males showcasing bright red or orange colours.
  • These birds specialise in feeding on pine seeds, skillfully using their crossed beaks.
  • Crossbills are found mainly in coniferous woodlands.
  • They have a complex breeding behaviour, often nesting in harsh winter conditions.
  • These birds can form large flocks, especially when they migrate in search of food.
  • Unlike many other birds, Crossbills can breed at any time of year, depending on the availability of food.

Facts About The Crossbill

Diet: Seeds from conifers.
Bird Family: Finches
Length: 16.5cm
Wingspan: 27-30.5cm
Weight: 35-50g
Scientific Name: Loxia curvirostra

The Crossbill Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Crossbill Images

Male Crossbill Male
Female Crossbill Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
Crossbill Fledgling Fledgling
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Juvenile