Red Crossbill

Martin Smart

Nanaimo, Canada

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Featured in “Rural Around the Globe” April 2010

The Common Crossbill, or Red Crossbill as it is known in North America, is a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae. It breeds in the spruce forests of North America as as well as Europe and Asia. It nests in conifers, laying 3–5 eggs.
Crossbills are characterised by the mandibles crossing at their tips and are specialist feeders on conifer cones; the unusual bill shape being an adaptation to assist the extraction of the seeds from the cone. Adult males tend to be red or orange in colour, and females green or yellow, but there is a lot of variation. This male was photographed at the Nanaimo River Estuary, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada and was in a small group with other males and females.

Canon 40D
1/500sec f8 ISO 400
500mm lens + 1.4x converter

Artwork Comments

  • Sonya Byrne
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