Fun White-winged Crossbill Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
White-winged crossbill facts for kids are extremely interesting.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.8 Min

The white-winged crossbill (Loxia leucoptera) is a type of small bird belonging to the Fringillidae family. They are finches.

These finches are small species of bird found in the coniferous forests of North America, specifically, Alaska, Canada, and the USA, and also in the Palearctic and Northeastern Europe. This species is about 5.9- 6.7 in (15-17 cm) long and weighs about 1-1.4 oz  (30-40 g).

Their name derives from how the adult males of the species look. The adult male of the species has a pinkish-red body with black wings and a black tail.

The adult male and female also have two white and bold wing bars on each wing. This is why they are also called the two-barred Crossbill. The females and the young all have greenish-yellow bodies.

They have mandibles that cross at the tip, which makes their bill look bent at the tip. This specialized bill helps them to feed on cones and seeds.

Their plumage differentiates from that of the red crossbill at the two white wing bars of the males. They are not migratory but might irrupt to the southern parts in mid-winter for food.

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White-Winged Crossbill Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a white-winged crossbill?

The white-winged crossbill (Loxia leucoptera) is a type of small bird in the Fringillidae family. They are finches similar to the red crossbill and pine grosbeak.

What class of animal does a white-winged crossbill belong to?

The white-winged crossbill (Loxia leucoptera) belongs to the Aves class of the Animalia kingdom. This means they are a type of bird. They also belong to the genus Loxia. They are finches belonging to the Fringillidae family. Another interesting crossbill is the Scottish crossbill.

How many white-winged crossbills are there in the world?

The exact number of white-winged crossbills in the world is unknown. But these birds have a Least Concern status in the IUCN Red List and a stable population. This means that there are a lot of them in the wild and their population is also not declining and is steady.

Where does a white-winged crossbill live?

There are two subspecies of these birds found broadly in two locations. The white-winged crossbill (Loxia leucoptera leucoptera) is found in North America, specifically in Alaska, Canada, and Northernmost USA (Pacific Northwest).

They are known to migrate southwards during winter to find conifer forests when their usual habitat and food supply freezes up. The other subspecies are called the two-barred crossbill (Loxia leucoptera bifasciata) and these birds can be found in the Palearctic and Northeastern Europe.

What is a white-winged crossbill's habitat?

The white-winged crossbill's breeding grounds are in coniferous forests. They mostly feed on spruce cones and seeds and seem to flock together to find food. They generally tend to stick to one place and not move too far away.

They feed on cone crops like spruce cones and spruce seeds etc. But in winter, when their food sources freeze up, they sometimes irrupt to the south in search of food.

They can be found in coniferous forests, especially those that have a healthy population of spruce trees and tamarack trees. They can also be found in fir and hemlock forests but it's rare. This bird also builds its nest on these trees.

Who do white-winged crossbills live with?

The white-winged crossbills can be found in flocks in wild habitats. They usually flock together to look for food and call when they come across an unproductive part. When they get to feed, they usually remain silent.

How long does a white-winged crossbill live?

The average lifespan of a white-winged crossbill is about four years in the wild. They are small species of birds that do not live for very long.

How do they reproduce?

This bird species is an opportunistic breeder. White-winged crossbills have been seen mating in all months of the year. Whenever the food is plenty for the female to nest and feed the young, they start mating.

These members of the bird family breed when food is plenty. The nest is made by the female, though the male helps her by bringing materials. They lay about two to five eggs in one clutch.

Nesting and incubation are done by the female, the incubation period is about 12-16 days. The female broods the young while the male brings them food. When nestlings are a little larger, both parents bring food to them.

What is their conservation status?

The white-winged crossbill is listed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List. Their population trend is also stable. This means not only are there a lot of them, but they are also not declining in numbers in the wild.

White-Winged Crossbill Fun Facts

What do white-winged crossbills look like?

White-Winged Crossbill on snow

The adult male of the bird species is very attractive. The plumage of the adult male of this bird species is pinkish-red in color and has a black tail and black wings. These birds also have two bold, white bars on their wings that earn them their names.

They are also called the two-barred crossbill because of this. The adult female birds and the young birds are usually yellowish-green with a grey underbelly.

Females also have black wings and two white bars on them. But mostly only one of the wing bars can be seen on the outside for the females. These birds also have tail coverts.

Their bill shape is unique because they have crossed bills. These bills help them in eating conifer seeds.

The exact number of these birds in the world is unknown but they are a species of Least Concern. They are about 5.9-6.7 in (15-17 cm) long and have a wingspan of about 10-12 in (26-30 cm). They weigh about 1-1.4 oz  (30-40g).

How cute are they?

They are a very cute and small species of bird. They are small and have distinct features. The males especially are colorful and attractive.

How do they communicate?

These birds communicate via calls. They make calls when they can't find food somewhere to alert the others. Their calls sound like warbles similar to the red crossbill.

How big is a white-winged crossbill?

The white-winged crossbill is a smaller species of bird. The adult birds are about 5.9-6.7 in (15-17 cm) long.

How fast can a white-winged crossbill fly?

The exact speed of a white-winged crossbill's flight is unknown, but the crossbills are usually strong and fast fliers. So it can be said that even though these birds are small, they can fly well.

How much does a white-winged crossbill weigh?

The average weight of adult white-winged crossbills is about 1-1.4 oz  (30-40 g). They are small finches.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the males and females of the bird species. They are simply called male white-winged crossbills and female white-winged crossbills.

What would you call a baby white-winged crossbill?

There are no specific names for the young white-winged crossbills. But like other baby birds, they can be called nestlings, chicks, or fledglings.

What do they eat?

They are birds that have specialized bills for eating conifer cones and seeds. Naturally, they eat those. Their flocks can be seen eating cone crops. They also eat insects in the summer. They can also eat hemlock and fir seeds. Their bill is ideal for this.

Are they poisonous?

No, these birds are not poisonous at all.

Would they make a good pet?

It is illegal for humans to have wild birds as pets, so no. Even though they are very cute, you cannot have them as pets.

Did you know...

White-winged crossbills help in forestry practices due to them eating and in the process, planting seeds.

What is the difference between a white-winged crossbill and a red crossbill?

Most of the difference between these birds is in the wings. Even though the adult male red crossbill has a duller plumage than the adult male of the white-winged crossbill, the color is similar.

But the white-winged crossbill has two bold white wing bars on its wings that the red crossbill does not. The white-winged crossbill females also have wing bars.

Do crossbills migrate?

White-winged crossbills are not strictly migratory. They have more of an irruption.

This happens when they cannot find food in one region and flocks fly to another region for food. Flocks of birds try to find another region mostly in winter when forests freeze over in their breeding grounds. These birds of North America form flocks to fly south during winter.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our umbrellabird facts and little bee-eater facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable white winged crossbill coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gowri Rao picture

Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

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