Red Crossbill

Male red crossbill sitting on a branch
Male red crossbill. Photo by Šárka Krňávková on Unsplash
AppearanceSmall bird about 6.2″ long, dark red-orange with brown sings and tail. Bill is long, pointed, and “crossed”. A brighter color of red on the head and rump. No crown. Female and young are pale yellow and gray.
DietSeeds and tree buds. Crossbill is designed to pry open pinecones to get at the seed inside.
Feeder FoodBlack oil sunflower seed and sometimes thistle.
HabitatFound throughout the US and Canada, this bird prefers mature coniferous forests.
NestingNests are built about 70′ high on tree branches near dense branches. They’re relatively large (about 9″ in diameter) made from twigs and lined with grasses, weeds, pine needles, feathers, or hair. 1 brood/season, 2-6 eggs/brood, incubation 14-18 days, and the young fledge at about 16-20 days. Eggs are bluish-white with brown specs.

Range Map

Red crossbill range map.
Red crossbill range map. Compliments of The Cornell Lab.