At close range, note the crossed mandibles. In all of its variable plumages, white wing bars distinguish this species from Red Crossbill. Adult Male: Pinkish-red overall, dulling to gray on the flanks and undertail coverts, which may show some streaking. First year males are lighter pink, orangish-red or may be mostly yellow. The wings and tail are black, with two bold white wing bars and white tips on the tertials. The auricular patch has a dark border at the rear, forming a crescent on the side of the head and the lores are generally blackish. Adult Female: Varies from mostly olive-gray with indistinct streaks and a yellowish wash on the rump and breast to showing extensive yellow-olive in its plumage. The auricular patch is outlined in gray, with dark crescent behind the eye being much reduced. Lores and auriculars are generally much paler than those of a young male. Wings are dark gray-brown (not black) with two white wing bars and white tips on the tertials. Juvenile: Brown streaking throughout. White wing bars may be thinner than those of adult. Aging of after hatch-year (AHY) and second-year (SY) can be difficult due to "complicated" molt strategies and occasional winter breeding (Pyle 1997).
Length: 15 (cm) Wingspan: 24 (cm)
Song is a rapid series of rattles and trills. Call is a thin chik-chik.
Highly nomadic, following cone crops. Usually in single-species flocks.
Uses bill to pry open conifer cones, then extracts seed with tongue. Often hangs upside down while foraging.
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