Loxia curvirostra

The Red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) is a species of small passerine bird in the finch family (Length / Wingspan: 15-17 cm / 27-30 cm). A bird with a large head, it has one of the most surprising and specialized beaks of all European avifauna. It is a robust, scissor-shaped tool, whose jaws intersect to form a perfect pincer with which to extract the nutritious pine nuts found in the cones of conifers (scots, black, aleppo and black pines), which constitute the basis of its diet, which it complements with some dry and fleshy fruit from other trees and shrubs and a wide variety of insects.

It is a forest bird with a nomadic disposition, the Red crossbill is a characteristic inhabitant of montane coniferous forests: pines, firs, larches and spruces throughout Europe, from sea level to high mountains.

They reproduce in the coniferous forests where they nest. The reproductive period is variable, without a specific month, depending on the availability of food. They locate the nest in trees that delimit forests and use thin pine branches, moss and lichens in its construction. It lays three to five eggs. The female is in charge of incubation and the chicks are fed by the two parents. The success of its reproduction depends on the pressure it suffers from jays and squirrels.

The Red crossbill is a bird basically resident in the Peninsula, but if food is insufficient, it migrates south. This species travels in large flocks outside of the mating period, and often mixes with other crossbills.

Adult males are usually red or orange, while females are usually green or yellow. The wings in both cases are diffusely striped brown-grayish tones.

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