Living Bird Magazine
White-winged CrossbillLoxia leucoptera
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Fringillidae
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.More ID Info
- Piquituerto Aliblanco (Spanish)
- Bec-croisé bifascié (French)
- Cool Facts
- Individual White-winged Crossbills can eat up to 3,000 conifer seeds each day.
- Breeding of the White-winged Crossbill is opportunistic and can occur throughout the year whenever food is sufficient for the female to form eggs and raise young. The species has been recorded breeding in all 12 months.
- White-winged Crossbills with lower mandibles crossing to the right are approximately three times more common than those with lower mandibles crossing to the left.
- Adult White-winged Crossbills change (molt) their feathers once each year, usually in the autumn. The red feathers of the male have unpigmented barbules on the surface that mask the red and make the bird appear pink at first in the fall. As these barbules wear off the bright red shows through, making the spring and summer male brilliantly colored.
- The Hispaniolan Crossbill (Loxia megaplaga) used to be considered a subspecies of the White-winged Crossbill. It is found only in the pine forests of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.