Parrot Crossbill

Parrot Crossbill

Scientific name: Loxia pytyopsittacus

Did you know: The Parrot Crossbill’s unique bill, resembling a parrot’s, is perfectly designed to pry open tough pine cones, their preferred food source!

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

Parrot Crossbills are robust finches, notable for their deep, powerful, parrot-like bills and sharply forked tails. The males flaunt a vibrant orange to red plumage with dusky wings and tail, while females are more subdued in olive-green or grey.

Differences Between Male And Female Parrot Crossbills

Males are distinguished by their striking red or orange colouration, whereas females sport more muted olive-green or grey tones.

What Do Parrot Crossbills Eat?

Their diet primarily consists of conifer seeds, especially pine, supplemented with some insects during the breeding season.

Where Do Parrot Crossbills Live? (inc. migration info)

Parrot Crossbills breed in northern and northeastern Europe’s pine forests. In Britain, they’re seen more frequently when the cone crop in Europe is poor. They have recently expanded their breeding from the Abernethy Forest in Scotland to other areas.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Parrot Crossbills)

Identifying Parrot Crossbills by sound can be tricky. Their deeper, resonant call, distinct from other crossbills, is a reliable indicator, along with their bill structure.

Fun Parrot Crossbill Facts (kid friendly)

  • Parrot Crossbills can open tough pine cones with their strong, curved bills.
  • They sometimes visit Britain in large groups when there’s a shortage of pine cones in their native Europe.
  • The male Parrot Crossbill is brightly coloured in shades of red and orange.
  • These birds prefer living in pine forests, feasting on the seeds.
  • Their unique bill shape helps them extract seeds more efficiently than other birds.
  • Parrot Crossbills are known to breed in the UK, particularly in Scotland’s Abernethy Forest.
  • They are a part of the finch family and are the largest type of crossbill.
  • Young Parrot Crossbills are fed by their parents until they can fend for themselves.
  • These birds are relatively rare in the UK, with an estimated 50 breeding pairs.
  • Parrot Crossbills are named for their parrot-like beak, used to break into pine cones.

Facts About The Parrot Crossbill

Diet: Conifer seeds, mainly pine, and some insects in the breeding season.
Bird Family: Finches
Length: 16-18cm
Wingspan: 30-34cm
Weight: 48-61 g
Scientific Name: Loxia pytyopsittacus

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

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

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