Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Common Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)


Crossbills are finches, around 16.5 cm long. They can be easily recognised by their highly specialized, crossed bills and long, pointed wings. Male Crossbills are brick-red with black wings and no white wing-bars. Females are greenish-yellow with black wings and no wing-bars.


Conifer forests and groves. Seldom found away from conifers. Depending on region of continent, may breed mainly in pines, or may be in spruce. Different races may favour different forest types. Wandering flocks may appear in plantings of conifers in parks or suburbs well away from usual range.


Conifer seeds, especially spruce, pine and hemlock. It uses its specialized bill to get at the seeds protected in pine cones, prizing the cone apart and snatching the seeds with its long tongue.

Protection Status

This species is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

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