One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A thickset finch with a crossed bill adapted for extracting seeds from the cones of conifers. The plumage is typically red in the male and olive green in the female.
Genus Loxia, family Fringillidae: four species, in particular the widespread red (or common) crossbill (L. curvirostra)
- ‘Only slightly larger than a sparrow, crossbills live exclusively in conifer forests where they feed on the seeds.’
- ‘In turn, the crossbills in the squirrel-less areas have evolved deeper bills, thereby partly countering the cones' defenses.’
- ‘Far off could be heard the warbling song of the red crossbill.’
- ‘The forest is, of course, most famous for its ospreys but Peter says the Scottish crossbill, wonderfully adapted for life in the pine forest, is also a local treasure.’
- ‘Chickadees, crossbills, goldfinches, nuthatches, siskins, and woodpeckers pick the winged seeds out of pine and spruce cones.’
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