Today we start our 2020 Birdorable Bonanza with a bang! Actually… make that an IRRUPTION! We’re kicking off 29 days of new birds by dropping four finches in this “finch invasion” winter season. A bright spot in 2020, many birders are... Read more »
The Red Crossbill is a species of finch found in northern forests across parts of North America, Eurasia, and northern Africa. They can be recognized by their two namesakes: their reddish plumage in males (although this varies a lot, with orangish and reddish-tan plumages also possible), and their crossed mandibles.
Crossbills use their specialized bills to separate scales from pine cones and extract the seeds inside. There are several different sub-species of Red Crossbill, each of which has specialized in extracting the seeds from a particular species of coniferous tree. Examples of this are the Rocky Mountain Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra benti) that feds on Ponderosa Pine seeds, and the Himalayan Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra himalayensis) which feeds on Himalayan Hemlock.