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Bird name:

Two-barred Crossbill

Loxia leucoptera




Finches (Fringillidae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Forests, coniferous

Breeding Type:

Monogamous, Colonial

Egg Colour:

White to blue-green with brown and purple spots.

Number of Eggs:

3 - 5

Incubation Days:

12 - 14

Egg Incubator:


Nest Material:

Grass, moss and twigs., Sticks, lichens, and moss.

Nest Location:

High in a coniferous tree near the end of a branch




Two-barred Crossbill: Medium-sized crossbill, bright pink to red overall except for black wings with two bold, broad white wing-bars. Belly has dull white center; undertail coverts are white. Tail is black and deeply notched. Female is brown-streaked overall with olive-brown rump. Juvenile is heavily streaked.

Range and Habitat

Two-barred Crossbill: Rare vagrant to the UK & Ireland. Year-round resident in thick evergreen forests in a wide band from the Atlantic coast of North America west across Canada and the northern US, to the Pacific coast of Asia, continuing west across north Asia to eastern Finland. Makes only short-distance moves in search of new food sources in winter, but famously irruptive.

Breeding and Nesting

Two-barred Crossbill: Three to five brown and purple spotted, white to blue green eggs are laid in a nest made of grass, bark, lichens, moss, and hair, and lined with twigs and weeds. Incubation ranges from 12 to 14 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Two-barred Crossbill: Eats conifer seeds, other seeds, weeds, grasses, and insects. Forages in small flocks during most of year; attracted to salt licks and salt on surfaces of winter highways.

Readily Eats

Suet, Sunflower Seed, Millet


Two-barred Crossbill: Vigorous musical warbles and chatters, "sweet, sweet, sweet", on different pitches and often issued during display flight on hovering wings. Call is rapid, harsh repetitive series of "chif-chif-chif" notes and plaintive "peet." Also uses a loud "meep" call, as well as chatter and twittering notes.

Similar Species

Two-barred Crossbill: Similar species lack broad white wing-bars and have heavier bills.

Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX