Scottish Crossbill

Scottish Crossbill

Scientific name: Loxia scotica

Did you know: The Scottish Crossbill, exclusive to the UK, is the only bird species found nowhere else in the world!

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

The Scottish Crossbill, a robust finch, boasts a prominent head and bill, setting it apart within its family. Distinguishing this bird from its relatives poses a challenge due to its unique appearance. 

These birds, exclusive to the UK, are typically 16-17 cm in length, weigh around 44g, and have a wingspan ranging from 27-37 cm.

Differences Between Male And Female Scottish Crossbills

Sexual dimorphism in Scottish Crossbills is pronounced. Males display a vivid red or orange plumage, while females exhibit a yellow or green hue. However, colour variations do exist within each gender.

What Do Scottish Crossbills Eat?

Scottish Crossbills primarily feed on pine seeds. Their distinctive bill shape is an evolutionary adaptation for efficiently extracting these seeds from cones. This diet reflects their specialised feeding habits within their coniferous habitats.

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

These birds inhabit the Caledonian Forests and various conifer plantations across Scotland, with no known migration patterns. Scottish Crossbills are estimated to number around 20,000, making them a precious part of the UK’s avian diversity. They nest predominantly in pines and other conifers, laying 2-5 eggs.

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

One of the most distinguishing features of the Scottish Crossbill is its unique call, which even has a “Scottish accent.” This vocal signature is essential for species identification, as it helps these birds find mates of their kind.

Fun Scottish Crossbill Facts (kid-friendly)

  • Scottish Crossbills are Scotland’s only exclusive bird species.
  • They can be identified by their “Scottish accent” calls.
  • Males are typically red or orange, while females are green or yellow.
  • They use their unique crossed bills to extract seeds from pine cones.
  • Scottish Crossbills are similar to, but distinct from, red and parrot crossbills.
  • They are early breeders, with females often nesting in February.
  • These birds are part of the finch family.
  • Their diet mainly consists of pine seeds.
  • Scottish Crossbills are non-migratory and form flocks outside the breeding season.
  • They play a vital role in their coniferous woodland ecosystems.

Facts About The Scottish Crossbill

Diet: Pine seeds.
Bird Family: Finches
Length: 16-17cm
Wingspan: 27-37cm
Weight: 44g
Scientific Name: Loxia scotica

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

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