Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Parrot Crossbill (Loxia pytyopsittacus)

Latin Etymology: Loxia ("crosswise") pytyopsittacus ("pine parrot")
Adult Male Parrot Crossbill at Wishmoor Bottom, Surrey - December 2017

Featured Subspecies: N/A
Weight: 53g  /  Length: 16-18cm  /  Wingspan: 27-31cm
UK AMBER LIST IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Parrot Crossbill is a bird which very much gets it's name from it's beak: the crossbills as a group of species are all conifer specialists with unique crossed mandibles that they use to pry open seeds from cones.  Out of the three species found in the UK, the Parrot Crossbill is generally considered to be the largest and rarest - only a small relic population remains in the Highlands of Scotland, though they remain more common elsewhere.  They do however on occasion, as in this case, irrupt from elsewhere when there is a shortage of food allowing me a much easier job of seeing them then looking in Scotland and trying to separate out the other two, very very similar species.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Genus: Loxia
SUBSPECIES: none - monotypic 

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - A small relic population in Scotland (65 pairs) and rare irruptive vagrant
 - An irruptive vagrant flock seen at Wishmoor Bottom in December 2017

Further Notes: BirdForum OpusIUCN Red List, RSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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