Red Crossbill

photo by Michael Klotz CC BY-NC

Red Crossbill have a thick curved bill with crossed tips that they use to extract seeds from conifer cones. They are a plump, medium-sized songbird (size can vary considerably) with a short tail. They can be found year-round in the boreal forests of the north, the west coast, and the western mountainous areas as well as throughout the United States in winter. The birds move in flocks and don't have a set migration but do travel large distances in search of food.

Males have a red body and blackish-brown wings and tail. Females are gray with an an olive-green chest and rump and blackish-brown wings and tail.

Could it be? White-winged Crossbill have black wings and white wingbars; the males are a lighter red. Pine Siskin resemble juvenile Crossbill but have a thinner, straight bill and yellow in their wings. Pine Grosbeak are larger with a stubbier bill and longer tail.

Did you know? As long as there is a good supply of conifer seeds, Red Crossbill can breed at any time of year as their young are fed regurgitated conifer seeds.

See Also: White-winged Crossbill