Crossbills


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Crossbills

 

birds constituting the genus Loxia of the family Fringillidae. They measure up to 20 cm long and weigh 30–58 g. The upper and lower mandibles are crossed, an adaptation for extracting seeds from cones of spruce, pine, and other conifers. The plumage of the males is reddish and of the females and the young, greenish.

There are three species, all represented in the USSR. The red, or common, crossbill (L. curvirostra) inhabits the coniferous forests of Europe, northwestern Africa, northern Asia, Central Asia, the Philippines, and North and Central America (south as far as Guatemala). The white-winged, or two-barred, crossbill (L. leucoptera) inhabits northern Europe, Asia, and North America. The parrot crossbill (L. pityopsittacus) inhabits the coniferous forests of northern Europe from Scotland to the Urals. Reproductive periods depend on the seed yields of coniferous varieties. In favorable years crossbills may even nest in the winter. The nests, with thick walls and a warm lining of feathers and fur, are built on trees. The three to five eggs that are laid are incubated only by the female. The principal diet is conifer seeds; the seeds of other plants are sometimes eaten and, on occasion, insects.

References in periodicals archive ?
It is tremendous to see the crossbills, which are nomadic and will go to Scotland or even the Continent in their search for food.
As such, the red crossbill is added to the list of permanent avian residents for Nuevo Leon.
The primary red feather pigment of male crossbills was found in the birds' liver and blood, which implied that that the carotenoids are synthesized in the liver and then travel to the peripheral tissues via the bloodstream.
The study, carried out by the RSPB in Highland forests, identified the Scottish crossbill as the UK's only endemic bird species, meaning it is not found anywhere else.
An RSPB study has proved the Scottish crossbill is the only UK species that does not live anywhere else.
Crossbills live mainly in Canada and in some northern and western states.
However, scientists studying the birds in northern Scotland began to suspect that they were observing three different groups of crossbills.
Are the ratios of bill crossing morphs in crossbills a result of frequency- dependent selection?
Also on the move at the weekend, but probably of more local origin, were Crossbills, seen over Anglesey's Carmel Head, at RSPB Conwy and over Colwyn Heights, while more than 100 were in Coed Gwydyr, where many nest.
Those who hoped to be treated to pine siskins, red polls, crossbills and grosbeaks, as we were last year, are much disappointed.
RECENT reports from watchpoints along the North Wales coast have included a surprising number of crossbills.