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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.