Loxia curvirostra
(Red Crossbill)

Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Fringillidae
Family Description: Finches, Crossbills, and Grosbeaks

Physical Description:
5 1/4-6 1/2" (13-17 cm). Rusty red with white flecks; dark wings and tail. Have crossed mandibles as indicated by name. Females are grayish with dull yellow rump and underparts. Immatures duller and streaked.

Similar Species- Pine Siskin, White-winged Crossbill

Soft, whistled kip or jip-jip-jip-jip-jip.

Resident from southeastern Alaska, east to Newfoundland, and south in western U.S. to northern Baja California and Nicaragua (south in eastern U.S. to northern Wisconsin, Tennessee, and North Carolina).

Found in coniferousClick word for definition and mixed coniferous/deciduousClick word for definition forests, pine savannas, and pine/oak habitat. During migrationClick word for definition and in winter, found in deciduous forests, and in more open, scrubby areas. Preliminary results of Idaho-Montana study found species favoring rotation-aged Douglas- fir stands over old-growth.

Eats seeds (e.g., pine, fir, spruce, hemlock, larch, birch, alder, elm), buds, and insects.

Builds cup-shaped nest in tree. Takes food from foliage, or forages on ground. May feed with other species. Does not maintain feeding territory. Forms flocksClick word for definition when not breeding.

Breeding season varies, depending in part on food supply. Female incubatesClick word for definition 3-4 eggs, sometimes 5, for about 12-14 days (in Rockies, female may breed in year hatched, and may produce 2 broods). Young leave nest about 17 days after hatching.

Element Code: ABPBY05010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
National Rank: N5

Important State References:
Hejl, S.J. and R.E. Woods. 1990. Bird assemblages in old-growth and rotation-aged Douglas-fir/Ponderosa pine stands in the northern Rocky Mountains: a preliminary assessment. Pp. 93-100 in D.M. Baumgartner and J.E. Lotan, eds., Proceedings of a Symposium on Interior Douglas-fir: the species and its management. Feb. 27, 1990, Spokane WA.

Photo by C. Trost,© 2000
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.