Holsaeter's Crossbill

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Holsaeter's Crossbill[1]
File:Holsaeter's Crossbills plate.png
Female, male, male with two wingbars, and the male orange morph.
Plate from A Field Guide to the Birds of Devonshire.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Clade: Nine-primaried oscines
Family: Fringillidae
Subfamily: Carduelinae
Tribe: Carduelini
Genus: Loxia
Linnaeus, 1758
Species: L. holsaeterii
Binomial name
Loxia holsaeterii
Travis , 2300[1]
File:Loxia holsaeterii range.png
Purple: Year-round

Blue: Winter
Pink: Breeding
Range is variable than what's shown.

Click for other names
Other common names Wing-barred Crossbill, Devonshire Crossbill, One-barred Crossbill.
  • Local Devonshirian name: Pine-nut Cracker
French Bec-croisé d'Holsaeter
German Holsaeter-Kreuzschnabel
Spanish Piquituerto de Holsaeter
Other languages Norwegian: Holsaeter Korsnebb

Swedish: Holsaeter är korsnäbb

This article contains made-up species!
This article contains made-up species not found on Earth. They will be highlighted in pink.

Holsaeter's Crossbill, Loxia holsaeterii (LOCK-sih-ah[3] hull-set-TER-e-eye) is a species of crossbill. It is named in honour of a teacher the author knows. They are found in Devonshire, Shire, Italy and Aquitani. It migrates to northern Africa.[alt. univ.]

It is a fairy common and occasional passage migrant in varying numbers.[4]

Its genus name Latin, from Greek loxos, crosswise in reference to its crossed mandibles;[3] species name in reference to a teacher the author knew.


Large, chunk finch with large heads and bull necks, long wings, square tail, plus heavy bill[5] with twisted upper and lower mandibles, the tips of which overlap; wihch help it extract pine or fir kernels, from the woody cones.[6] Unpredictable and often elusive. Resembles and acts like a miniature parrot but has crossed mandibles.[4]

Length 16–18 cm (6.3–7.1 in) long[5]
Bill c. 2.5 cm (0.98 in) thick, or about the thickness of a human finger[7]
Weight about 0.75 oz (21 g)[3]
Wingspan 25–28 cm (9.8–11.0 in)[6]

Tip: move your mouse over some terms to view a definition. Only works on desktops.

File:Schematic-utail-Loxia holsaeterii.png
A schematic showing the undertail coverts including the crissum.[note E]

Males are bright pink overall[8] with one white wingbar[note A] and dark wings, rump[note B], crissum[note C] and tail. In males, the pink may be replaced with orange, which is rare.[9]

The female is mottled yellowish olive with a darker olive-green back. The hen's wings are dark grey, and tail is dark grey to black; rump and crissum are yellow, unlike the males.

Both sexes share these same characteristics: light yellow bills, the flanks[note D] closest to the wings are greyish-white and their feet are both dark grey to black.

Similar species[edit]

Parrot Crossbill
White-winged Crossbill
Common Crossbill
Pine Grosbeak
Similar species. Top to bottom: Parrot Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Common Crossbill and Pine Grosbeak.

The male resembles a Two-barred Crossbill, however the Holsaeter's has one wing bar. It is rarely found with two wing bars, less than 1% of the population have two wing bars.[10] The tail is not forked, unlike the other crossbills; however, this might be hard to see when in the field or when the bird is facing the person viewing it.

The female Holsaeter's resembles the Red Crossbill, but Red's tail is crossed, and the hen's back is "scaled" olive-green. The Red Crossbill very rarely has wingbars, too, but these are narrower and tertial tips are evenly fringed white and do not have white at sides.[5] It is also larger than Red, with a heavier bill, like that of the Parrot Crossbill.

Scottish Crossbill is only found in northern Britannia and the ranges rarely overlap and lacks the white wingbars. Parrot Crossbill lacks the white wingbars as well.

Pine Grosbeak lacks the crossed bill and is shorter.

Other pink or red finches are smaller.


It very rarely hybridises with the Two-barred Crossbill. Males are known to hybridise with the Red Crossbill, but this is very rare. It is unknown whether the offspring are sterile or not.


It is often elusive, but its presence may be betrayed by falling cones.[4] They often go unnoticed and easy overlooked, unless one listens for their calls[11] and looks for discarded cones and wing seeds on the ground.[11][5]

Flight is undulating.[5]


File:How Nature Works White-winged Crossbill Feeding Technique
White-winged Crossbill's feeding technique is not unlike that of the Holsaeter's Crossbill's.

Feeds acrobatically in conifers, sliding along branches and moving from twig to twig using its bill.[4] When faced with a food shortage, they will move outside their normal range, this phenomenon is also known as irruption.[6]

Conifer seeds, particularly that of the Devonshire fir (Abies devonshirensis)[made-up sp.], Devonshire pine (Pinus dunni)[made-up sp.] and spruces (Picea). The seeds of willows, birches, maples, and other trees are eaten.[11] It sometimes eats insects and spiders[12] , as well as fruit and will prey upon invertebrates when feeding young.[6] Prefers rowan berries in winter.[5]

The tough scales protecting the seeds of pines are pressed tightly together, and the seeds are hidden deep inside the cone - the crossbill can easily pull them out, as their bills act like a lever[13]; they use one foot to help onto to the cones.[11]

They hang upside-down, over the end of a limb to work at the cone from above. They insert their bills between the scales of the cone, and use their mandibles to hold the scales open while their flexible tongues lift out the seeds.[13]

It is sometimes found on roadways picking up salt and grit[14] and is sometimes killed by cars when licking off salt on highways[3].

The rarely descend to the ground, usually to drink or when the pine or fir crop is poor.[6]

This bird is attracted to birdfeeders. Crossbills come to sunflower and thistle seed, and sometimes to sources of salt.[11]


High-flying family parties attract attention by their repeated loud, metallic calls.[5] A dry echoing chipp-chipp-chipp, kip-kip-kip, or chiff-chiff-chiff[12]. Nasal twitterings are not uncommon, but hard to hear. Song is a mixture of trills, twitters and contact calls[4]; is fast, varied and twittering, Siskin-like.[15] [5] In flocks, they will also utter low twitters to one another when feeding,[11] although often silent.[5]


Often breeds early in the year (February-March), although breeding season protracted.[5]

The males during courtship whistles and warbles from a perch in a treetop or sings while flying in circles above the female.[11]

Pairs are monogamous.

Their nest is a cup of grass stems and twigs, placed in a small conifer tree[16] , often at a considerable height,[4] more than 18 metres (59 ft) high.[6]

They lay 3-4 eggs, which are whitish-blue with reddish-brown markings[6] or pale blue or green eggs marked with brown or black.[11] The female incubates the eggs 12-14 days.[11] The chicks fledge after 17 days.[11]

Rarely parasitised by the Brown-headed Cowbird[3].


It is native to Europa. Found in larch, fir, or pine forests.


^A Definition of wingbar from: Mullarney, Killian (1999). Birds of Europe. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691050538. {{cite book}}: Unknown parameter |coauthor= ignored (|author= suggested) (help).

^B Definition of rump from: France, Peter; et al. (2007). Bird: The Definitive Visual Guide. Dorling Kindersley Inc. ISBN 1564582957. {{cite book}}: Explicit use of et al. in: |author= (help)

^C Simplified version of the definition of crissum.

^D Definition of flank from: Bellrose, Frank C. and The Audubon Society (1983). The Audubon Society Master Guide to Birding. National Geographic Society. ISBN 1426200722.

^E Schematic based on the drawings of undertail coverts from Stokes, Donald W. and Stokes, Lilian Q. (2004). Field Guide to Warblers. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0316816647.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link).

  1. ^ a b Travis, George (2300). "A new species of crossbill from the mountains of Devonshire (Fringillidae: Loxia)". Devonshire Journal of Ornithology. University of Hera, Zoological Department. 5 (6): 12–3. {{cite journal}}: |access-date= requires |url= (help); Check date values in: |year= (help)
  2. ^ Future IUCN
  3. ^ a b c d e Terres, John K. (1980). The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN 0394466519.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Arlott, Norman and Taylor, Moss (2008). Collins Identifying Birds by Colour. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. ISBN 9780007206797.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Mullarney, Killian (1999). Birds of Europe. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691050538. {{cite book}}: Unknown parameter |coauthor= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Gilpin, Daniel (2011). The Complete Illustrated Guide to Animals, Birds and Fish of the British Isles. Hermes House. ISBN 1846815447. {{cite book}}: Check |isbn= value: checksum (help)
  7. ^ See images of banded Parrot Crossbills
  8. ^ Dunn, Jon L. and Alderfer, Jonathan (2011). National Geographic Guide to the Birds of North America. National Geographic Society. ISBN 1426200722.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Travis, George (2304). "An orange Holsaeter's Crossbill, Loxia holsaeterii spotted in the Frost National Forest". Devonshire Journal of Ornithology. University of Hera, Zoological Department. 8 (12): 30–3. {{cite journal}}: |access-date= requires |url= (help); Check date values in: |year= (help)
  10. ^ Travis, George (2311). "Studies of the male Holsaeter's Crossbill, Loxia holsaeterii that have two wing bars". 3 (6). University of Hera, Zoological Department: 1–3. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help); Check date values in: |year= (help)
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Robert Burton (1995). North American Birdfeeder Handbook. Doring Kindersley. ISBN 0789403374.
  12. ^ a b Beletsky, Les (2007). Bird Songs from Around the World. Bellevue, WA: becker&meyer!. p. 166. ISBN 143797046X. {{cite book}}: |access-date= requires |url= (help); Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  13. ^ a b Reader's Digest Editors (2012). Reader's Digest Book of North American Birds. Reader's Digest Association. ISBN 1464302294. {{cite book}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  14. ^ Bellrose, Frank C. and The Audubon Society (1983). The Audubon Society Master Guide to Birding. National Geographic Society. ISBN 1426200722.
  15. ^ Brazil, Mark (2009). Birds of East Asia: China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Russia. Princeton University Press. ISBN 97801691139265. {{cite book}}: Check |isbn= value: length (help)
  16. ^ Harrison, Colin and Greensmith, Alan (1993). Birds of the World. Dorling Kindersley Inc. ISBN 1564582965.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

Based on...[edit]

It is based on the Two-barred Crossbill and Red Crossbill, in which much of the info comes from.



File:Paw 1.png This article is part of Project Aves, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each bird, including made-up species.
This article is part of Project Passeriformes, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each passerine, including made-up species.
File:Common Chaffinch.png This article is part of Project Fringillidae, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each fringillid, including made-up species.
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