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.
1957) reported the red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) in Mexico from northern Baja California, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, Michoacan, Guerrero, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Durango, Queretaro, Mexico, Distrito Federal, Morelos, San Luis Potosi, Puebla, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz.
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.
An RSPB study has proved the Scottish crossbill is the only UK species that does not live anywhere else.
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.
A NUMBER of rare Parrot and Two-barred Crossbills have been found among large flocks of Common Crossbills that have invaded Britain from Scandinavia in search of pine cone seeds.
The distinct common and parrot species of crossbills have long been known in Britain.
Red crossbills (Loxia curvirostra), Botteri's sparrows (Aimophila botterii) and black-headed siskins (Carduelis notara) were each encountered only once, all in dense vegetation not used by grasshopper sparrows.
Benkman (1996) showed that variation in the rate of mandible crossing direction in Crossbills (Loxia spp.
The fauna of these forests consists of small animals, such as hares (Lepus), voles (subfamily Microtinae), and many species that eat conifer seeds, such as squirrels (family Sciuridae) and crossbills (Loxia).
Benkman (1993) has shown that the diversity of Red Crossbills (Loxia spp.
The little flock of red crossbills and white-winged crossbills had alighted in a tall Norway spruce at the edge of the parking lot.