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White-winged Crossbill


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A medium-sized finch of the boreal forest, the White-winged Crossbill is adapted for extracting seeds from the cones of coniferous trees. It moves large distances between years tracking the cone crop from place to place.

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Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Stocky red or greenish finch.
  • Black wings with two large white wingbars.
  • Short, notched tail.
  • Thick, curved bill with crossed tips.

Male Description

Head and body pink in winter, turning deeper red by spring or summer. Some males yellow. Belly and flanks grayish, dusky streaks on flanks. Variable amount of black on rear of face. Feathers under tail black with white tips. Wings and tail black. Wings with two large white wingbars and white tips to tertials.

Female Description

Breast and rump grayish green to yellowish olive, streaked with dusky. Back and top of head greenish mottled with brown. Belly and flanks tan with dusky streaks. Wings and tail dark brown, with two large white wingbars.

Immature Description

Juvenile heavily streaked all over. Immature with variable amount of streaking, brownish flight feathers, and smaller wingbars than adult. Immature male dull pinkish red or yellow-orange.

Range Map Help

White-winged Crossbill Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

  • Red Crossbill has blackish wings and lacks bold white wingbars in all plumages; male is more brick red.
  • Juvenile resembles Pine Siskin, but siskin has straight, thinner bill and yellow in the wings.
  • Pine Grosbeak is larger, has a stubbier bill, and a longer tail.

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