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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Two-barred Crossbill



Awaiting image for this species



Two-barred Crossbill

(White-winged Crossbill)

Loxia leucoptera


  • Two-barred Crossbill (White-winged Crossbill)
  • Loxia leucoptera
  • UK: Scarce visitor. 2 records annually July - Feb (110 records 1958 - 2004) BTO
  • WI: Rare passage visitor (less than 30 records)
  • Breeds: Nests in coniferous forest. Alaska, Canada, North USA, Asia, North- East Europe.
  • Diet: Mostly conifer seeds. Feeds fluttering from cone to cone. Bill is an adaptation for extracting the seeds of a cone (prefers larch), also Rowan berries, some invertebrates in summer
  • Finch. Bill crossed over at tip. Adult males red or pinkish. Females green or yellowish (much variation). ID from Common Crossbills by strong white wingbars. Also white tips on tertials. Note that Common Crossbills sometimes have weak white wingbars)
  • Similar birds: Common Crossbill


A rare vistor to the UK, the Two-barred Brossbill sometimes joins flocks of Common Crossbills when they irrupt South. An irruption is when finches and other seed eaters move in large numbers in search of food.

If the cone crop failed on their usual breeding grounds, Common Crossbills may be numerous in the UK and will arrive from the Continent from late summer, often staying to breed. (Crossbill's breeding season lasts from summer to the next spring to take advantage of maximum cone supplies).



Two-barred Crossbill records in the Western Isles

Rare passage visitor (less than 30 records)

The chart below shows how abundant the Two-barred Crossbill is during a month or when you are more likely to see it.

















(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)



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