Red Crossbill

Red Crossbill

Loxia curvirostra

Least Concern

Known for their peculiar crossed beaks, Red Crossbills are vibrant, nomadic songbirds found across North America, Europe, and Asia. These gregarious birds are distinguished by their vivid coloration, with males showcasing a striking red plumage, while females exhibit a more subdued green hue. Renowned for their exceptional adaptation to extract seeds from conifer cones, they often form large, wandering flocks in search of food, making them a fascinating spectacle in coniferous forests and woodlands.

Appearance and Identification

Primary Color

Red

Primary Color (female)

Green

Primary Color (juvenile)

Grey

Secondary Colors

Brown, Black

Secondary Colors (female)

Brown, Black

Secondary Colors (juvenile)

Brown, Black

Secondary Colors (seasonal)

Wing Color

Black

Wing Color (female)

Black

Wing Color (juvenile)

Black

Beak Type

Crossed

Beak Color

Black

Beak Color (female)

Black

Beak Color (juvenile)

Black

Leg Color

Pink

Leg Color (female)

Pink

Leg Color (juvenile)

Pink

Distinctive Markings

Crossed beak, males are reddish, females are greenish

Distinctive Markings (female)

Crossed beak, less vibrant than males

Distinctive Markings (juvenile)

Crossed beak, duller than adults

Tail Description

Forked tail, black in color

Tail Description (female)

Forked tail, black in color

Tail Description (juvenile)

Forked tail, black in color

Size Metrics

15cm to 17cm

Length

27cm to 30cm

Wingspan

40g to 49g

Weight

Photos

Click on an image below to see the full-size version

Vocalization and Sounds

Primary Calls

Jip-jip-jip sound

Call Description

Series of high pitch calls, often in flight

Alarm Calls

Sharp, short chirps

Behavior and Social Structure

Daily Activities

Mostly active during the day, foraging for food in the morning and late afternoon

Social Habits

Gregarious, often forming large flocks

Territorial Behavior

Nomadic, no fixed territory

Migratory Patterns

Irruptive, dependent on food availability

Interaction with Other Species

Can be aggressive towards other bird species in feeding areas

Diet

Primary Diet

Seeds, Cones

Feeding Habits

Extracts seeds from cones using its crossed bill

Feeding Times

Throughout the day, peaking at dawn and dusk

Prey Capture Method

Forages in trees

Diet Variations

None known

Special Dietary Needs (if any)

None known

Nesting

Nesting Location

Coniferous trees

Nest Construction

Shallow cup of twigs, lined with grass and feathers

Breeding Season

Dependent on food availability, but most commonly January to March

Number of clutches (per breeding season)

1-3 broods, with sometimes even 4

Egg Appearance

Pale blue with dark speckles

Egg Size

Approximately 2cm x 1.5cm

Clutch Characteristics

3-4 eggs

Incubation Period

Around 12-14 days

Fledgling Period

Approximately 18-22 days

Parental Care

Both parents feed chicks, with females solely incubating

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

Widespread, found in North America, Europe, and Asia

Habitat Description

Coniferous forests and woodlands

Elevation Range

Usually 800 - 4100 meters

Migration Patterns

Irruptive, dependent on food availability

Biome

Forest

Climate zones

Temperate, Boreal

Distribution Map

Please note, this range and distribution map is a high-level overview, and doesn't break down into specific regions and areas of the countries.

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