Loxia Curvirostra – Red Crossbill

Loxia Curvirostra - Red Crossbill found in the US

The red crossbill, Loxia curvirostra is a small passerine bird belonging to the finch family Fringillidae. Crossbills have distinct mandibles with crossed tips that they use to extract seeds from conifer cones and other fruits.

Quick Overview: Loxia Curvirostra – Red Crossbill
Body size: Around 5.5-6.5 in (14-17 cm) and a weight of 40 g (1.4 oz)
Main colors: Red-Orange, Red, Brown, Gray-Black
Range: Western United States
Migratory Bird: No
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: All Year (January – December)
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Red crossbill Description

A medium-sized finch with a reddish-orange body and a brighter red rump, as well as dark brown wings. The bill is dark and has a crossed tip. The tail has been notch. Gray-black legs and feet.

Loxia Curvirostra - Red Crossbill found in the US
Loxia Curvirostra – Red Crossbill. Photo by: Silver Leapers

Size

These birds have a length of 5.5-6.5 in (14-17 cm) and a weight of 40 g (1.4 oz). Their wings could range from 10-10.75 in (25-27 cm).

Feeding

Red crossbills are herbivores (granivores), consuming primarily conifer seeds, but also tree buds, berries, weed seeds, and aphids.

Habitat

This species is found in mature evergreen forests with abundant cone crops. This species feeds on the seeds of spruce, Douglas-fir, eastern and western hemlock, and pine trees.

Behavior

Red Crossbills typically forage for seeds in cones that are still attached to branches, although they may forage on fallen cones in the spring and summer.

Loxia Curvirostra Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Fringillidae
  • Subfamily: Carduelinae
  • Genus: Loxia
  • Species: Loxia curvirostra

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds is all year round, regardless of the season. This refers to any month of the year between January and December.

Distribution of the Red crossbill in the USA

Breeds in southern Alaska, Manitoba, Quebec, and Newfoundland, south to northern Nicaragua in the west, and in the eastern United States to Wisconsin and North Carolina in the east (in mountains). Winters infrequently south to the Gulf Coast, as well as in Eurasia.

The Red crossbill can be found in the following states in the United States – California, Oregon, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas.

Loxia Curvirostra – Red Crossbill

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