home Birds What feature does a crossbill bird have?

What feature does a crossbill bird have?

Reproduction of crossbills

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On the territory of the middle zone of our country, crossbills, as a rule, begin the nesting process in March. Repeated nesting is observed in the last decade of summer or early autumn, with a simultaneous harvest of larch and pine. In winter, from December to March, birds make nests only in regions with a very high seed yield. Almost all species reproduce regardless of the season.

Birds arrange nests in the dense crown of coniferous trees, most often on fir trees and somewhat less often on pines, at a height of 2-10 m from ground level. The entire outer part of the nest is made using fairly thin spruce twigs, and the inner part is laid out with the thinnest branches, moss and lichen. The litter of the tray in the finished nest is represented by animal hair and a small amount of bird feathers. The average nest diameter is 12-13cm with a height of 8-10cm and a tray size of 7.2 × 5.2cm.

As a rule, the clutch of a crossbill is three or five eggs of an almost snow-white color with a slight blue tint and a size of 22x16mm. On the surface of the eggs, there are reddish-brown streaks. The incubation period of the laid eggs is a couple of weeks, during which the female is in the nest, and the male gets food and feeds her.

The hatched chicks are covered with a rather thick gray fluff. The first few days, the female heats the chicks, and then, along with the male, begins to fly out of the nest in search of food.

To feed the chicks, seeds of different conifers softened in the goiter of the male and female are used.

Description and appearance

All types of crossbills belong to birds from the order of passerines, and by the structure of their body they vaguely resemble sparrows, but are slightly larger than them. The tail of such a bird is rather short in size, with a neat fork-shaped cut. The head is relatively large. Strong and sturdy paws allow the bird to easily cling to tree branches, and even hang upside down for a long time.

The coloration of the plumage of the male crossbill is very elegant and festive. crimson red or pure red. Along the entire abdomen of the bird, there are stripes of whitish-gray color. But the plumage of females is more modest, in greenish and grayish shades and with a yellowish-green edging on the feathers. Young crossbills also have an unattractive gray color and variegated specks.

Notable is the crossbill beak, which is characterized by a rather unusual shape. The lower and upper parts of the beak almost overlap each other, making it a very powerful tool for easily harvesting seeds from the tightly attached bud scales.

Crossbill lifestyle

Klest is a diurnal, rather mobile, nimble and noisy forest bird. Adults fly quickly, using a wavy trajectory in flight. A feature of the crossbill is its nomadic lifestyle. Flocks very often fly from place to place in search of a more productive area.

Klest belongs to forest birds of the second category of rarity, therefore it is mentioned on the pages of the Red Book of Moscow.

Natural enemies of the crossbill, as such, are absent, which is due to the constant use of coniferous seeds for food. The bird, thus, in the process of life “embalms” itself, therefore the meat of such birds becomes tasteless, very bitter, absolutely uninteresting for any predators. After death, the crossbill does not decompose, but mummifies, due to the high content of resin in the body.

Interesting facts about crossbills

Crossbill is a small bird slightly larger than a sparrow. This breed is characterized by an unusual appearance. The crossbill has a cruciform beak, which distinguishes it from the general mass of birds.

The name is of Latin origin (Loxia). Crossbones are songbirds. If we talk about the genus, then the crossbill belongs to the family of finches, to the order of passerines. Crossbones are mainly found in the Northern Hemisphere.

Dominant in their diet are the seeds of conifers and pine cones. Crossbills are able to travel an impressive number of kilometers for food. 2700-3500 km from the nest.

Types of crossbill

To date, six varieties of crossbill are well studied and quite common:

  • spruce crossbill or ordinary (Lokhia curvirostra) is a forest songbird. Males have a red or reddish-crimson main plumage and a gray-white underbelly. Females are characterized by a greenish-gray coloration with yellow-green edging on the feathers. The young bird is gray, with mottles, and the first-year males have orange-yellow plumage. The beak is not too thick, elongated, less curved, slightly crossed. The head is large enough;
  • pine crossbill (Lochia pytyopsittacus) is a forest, rather large songbird with a body length of 16-18 cm and a characteristic coloration of the plumage. The main difference is represented by a very massive beak, consisting of a thick mandible and an upper mandible. The upper part of the beak is blunt. Females of this species also sing, but more quietly and rather uniformly;
  • white-winged crossbill (Lohia leuсotera) is a songbird, medium-sized bird, with a body length within 14-16cm. The variety is characterized by very pronounced sexual dimorphism. Females have yellow plumage, and males have crimson-red or brick-red feathers. The wings are black with a pair of white stripes;
  • Scottish crossbill (Lochia sotica) is the only endemic in the UK. A medium-sized bird with a body length of 15-17 cm with an average weight of 50 g. The upper and lower beaks are crossed among themselves.

Also, the varieties are represented by Lohia megaplaga Riley or Spanish crossbill, and Lohia sibiris Pallas or Siberian crossbill.

Diet, food crossbill

Crossbills belong to birds, for which a highly specialized type of food is characteristic. All species have a sharply curved beak, which intersects with the beak, therefore the basis of the diet is the seeds that are in the cones of coniferous trees.

Also, the crossbill often pecks up sunflower seeds. It is extremely rare for a bird of this type to eat insects, as a rule, aphids.

Habitat and habitats

Spruce crossbills inhabit coniferous forest zones in Europe, as well as Northwest Africa, northern and central Asia and America, the Philippines and the territory of the countries of the former Soviet Union. Prefers coniferous and mixed, mainly spruce forests.

The pine crossbill inhabits coniferous pine forests. Breeds in large numbers in Scandinavia and in the north-eastern part of Europe. This variety is rarer than the spruce crossbill. The habitat of the white-winged crossbill is the Russian TAIGA, Scandinavia and North America. This variety gives preference to forest zones with a predominance of larch.

crossbill house

Bird-catchers appreciate the crossbill for its brightly colored plumage and the fact that such a small forest bird quickly assimilates in a cage and sings actively. When catching, it should be remembered that bright plumage is preserved only until the first molt, and the molted bird does not look very elegant anymore.

The song of the crossbill is replete with many squeaks and characteristic clatter, but the whitebelt crossbills have the best singing abilities.

Caches and bows, web nets, as well as decoy and semolina birds are used for fishing. Both in natural conditions and in the cellular content, the crossbill very actively eats coniferous buds, and also gnaws young shoots and some herbs. Of particular interest are older males with attractive red plumage.

The brighter the plumage a bird has, the more valuable it is. The caught bird can not be kept in cutes, but immediately planted in a permanent metal cage, in which small wooden sticks and fresh plant sprigs should be placed.

The external data of the crossbill directly depend on a complete diet. Such a bird is very reluctant to eat grain mixtures, represented by millet, canary seed and rapeseed. Forest birds react very positively to crushed nuts and pumpkin seeds, twigs of plants with buds and sprouts of a coniferous tree.

Reproduction and offspring

The peculiarity of crossbills lies in the fact that they acquire their offspring in winter, when Christmas frosts crackle on the street. Due to this feature, crossbills are also called Christmas birds. Living in the middle lane, birds begin to build nests in the month of March. At the end of summer, birds can re-breed future offspring. During this period, seeds ripen on pines and larch trees. When the year is fruitful, the crossbills can multiply even in the middle of winter in severe frosts.

Interesting to know! The breeding process of these birds is directly related to the abundance of the harvest of conifers, so the season does not play a big role.

For arranging its nests, the bird chooses spruce and, less often, pines. The nests can be at a height of two to 10 meters. The nest is formed from thin spruce twigs, as well as using moss, lichen, feathers and animal hair, with which the bird decorates the inner space of the nest. The nest reaches almost 15 cm in diameter and up to 10 cm in height.

The female lays several white eggs, giving off some blueness, while burgundy specks can be seen on the eggs. Chicks develop over a couple of weeks. The eggs are mainly incubated by the female, and the male provides food for her. The hatched chicks are covered with dense gray down. For several days in a row, the female warms the chicks with her body, after which she, together with the male, begins to feed her offspring.

After 3 weeks, the chicks are already able to fly, but they do not fly far from the nest. It should be noted that the emerging offspring have even beaks, so the juveniles cannot yet feed on their own and for several months the parents have to feed their chicks. Juveniles gradually begin to master the technique of extracting seeds from cones and their beaks begin to take the same shape as in adults. Living in a natural environment, crossbills do not live long, but when kept in captivity, they live up to 10 years of age. According to some reports, people have found stuffed birds of these birds that have survived to the age of 20, which is extremely rare.

Behavior and lifestyle

As already mentioned, crossbills prefer to lead a nomadic lifestyle, so they constantly move in search of territories rich in food. Basically, they roam in small groups, numbering several dozen individuals. These are neither migratory nor sedentary birds. They show their activity in the daytime, while they prefer to be in a dense crown, rarely sinking to the ground. Crossbills fly perfectly along a wave-like trajectory, and, being in the crowns of trees, they show enviable mobility and dexterity.

It’s important to know! White-winged crossbills feel comfortable even in frost conditions reaching 50 degrees. Even in such frosts, you can hear this bird sing.

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Despite the fact that the crossbills represent songbirds, they sing only when they fly from place to place. When a bird is in dense branches, its singing is unlikely to be heard, but during flights the birds constantly communicate with each other. The singing of the crossbills is quite melodic, as their chirps alternate with a loud whistle, indicating high notes.

Crossbones lead a secretive lifestyle, and it is not so easy to observe their behavior in natural conditions. Therefore, the nature of these birds is judged by their content in captivity. The owners of these birds speak of the friendliness, gullibility and sociability of crossbills. Birds are smart enough and easily tamed, so they can be trained to execute simple commands without any problems. These birds easily imitate the singing of other birds, which they alternate with their trills.

Bird crossbill: description

Crossbills represent small songbirds that belong to the order of passerines and the family of finches. The ancestors of crossbills inhabited our planet about 10 million years ago, so this small bird can be safely considered ancient. These birds prefer to settle in forests with a predominance of spruce and pine trees, and the greater the percentage of conifers. The greater the number of these birds.

This bird is so unique that it is called the bird of Christ, adding stories and legends about it in the past. According to one of the legends, when Christ was crucified, the crossbill tried to save him from torment and pain, trying to pull out the nails. As a result of such efforts, the crossbill bent its beak, but it failed to pull the nails out of the body of Christ. In addition to the fact that its beak was bent, the bird was injured and a blood stain appeared on its chest.

The Lord became aware of the efforts of this small bird, and he rewarded it with unique characteristics. Such data include:

  • Cruciform beak.
  • The appearance of offspring during the Christmas holidays.
  • The incorruptibility of bird dust.

All these properties are considered unusual, but they are closely related to the life of the bird and its appearance, as well as the diet. The bird is small, but its size exceeds the size of a sparrow, reaching up to 20 cm. The crossbills have a very stocky and strong body, while the tail is short and, as it were, divided into two parts.

The head is relatively large, while the unusual shape of the beak immediately catches the eye, which overlaps crosswise. The limbs are quite strong and tenacious, so you can often see how the crossbills hang upside down on the branches. Males differ from females in a more variegated, bright and attractive color.

Crossbill protection

It would seem that the crossbills are very lucky, since they have practically no natural enemies and their number should not decrease, but rather increase. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and in some regions these birds are extremely rare. As a rule, this is due to the hectic life of a person who, for his own benefit, absolutely rashly causes serious harm to wildlife.

In 2001, the spruce crossbill was included in the Red Book of Moscow, and the bird is very rare in this area. This is due to a number of factors, which, in turn, are associated with a decrease in the areas of spruce forests and the growth of mixed forests. The main operating factor is considered to be the degradation of forest areas based on the uncontrolled growth of non-coniferous trees. Young Christmas trees grow rather slowly, especially since moose damage them.

Conservation measures are associated not only with the entry of birds into the Red Data Books of various regions, but also with other important steps. Security measures should also include:

  • Permanent nesting areas of birds are considered specially protected natural objects.
  • Adoption of programs to expand the territories occupied by spruce forests, as well as preserving the intact and preservation of existing ones.
  • Controlling the moose population to bring their numbers to a safe level in order to preserve other forest dwellers and various plants.
  • Restrictions on the improvement and cultivation of coniferous forest plantations, preserving them in their natural form.

The crossbill bird is considered quite interesting, both in appearance and in behavior. The more you learn about this bird, the more interesting it becomes. The very fact that the crossbills feed on seeds of coniferous trees, their shoots and resin, suggests that this bird is unique and the Lord Himself awarded it with similar characteristics.

What eats

Due to the peculiarities of the structure of the beak, the crossbills easily fold back the hard scales of the cones, getting to the seeds. The tenacious paws of this unique bird allow it to stay on the branches in any position, pecking the cones from top to bottom.

It should be noted right away that the diet of these birds is not very diverse, since the fruits of conifers form the basis of the diet. There are times when crossbills include sunflower seeds in their menu, as well as seeds of various herbaceous plants. Crossbills rarely feed on insects and mainly eat aphids.

An important point! The summer period for these birds is characterized by the fact that their diet is noticeably depleted. In such conditions, birds have to snack on seeds of wild grasses. During especially hungry periods, crossbills are capable of raiding farmland.

When eating seeds from a bud, the crossbills do not try to pull out all the seeds, especially if they are held firmly enough. Therefore, they peck up about a third part, and the rest goes to various rodents if the cone is on the ground. In addition to fruits, crossbills feed on spruce and pine buds, as well as resin and bark of these trees. On occasion, crossbills can dine on maple, ash, fir and larch seeds. When keeping crossbills in captivity, they are fed with mountain ash, oatmeal, mealworms, millet, hemp, nuts and sunflowers.

Habitat

As a rule, crossbills are found in woodlands dominated by conifers, while they are not found in cedar thickets. These birds are in constant search of food, therefore they lead a nomadic lifestyle, therefore they do not have a permanent habitat and it is extremely difficult to keep track of them. Crossbills where the highest yield of coniferous trees. Having found an accumulation of crossbills in a certain place, after some time they may not be found, since they left these territories in search of more comfortable ones.

From the name of the bird, you can determine in which forests they prefer to nest. Spruce stalks prefer spruce plantations, but they can also be found in mixed forests. This species of birds lives in Europe, on the African continent, in the Philippines, in Central Asia, in North and Central America.

Pine crossbills prefer forests based on pine tree species for their life. Their habitat extends to the territory of Scandinavia, as well as to Northeastern Europe. At the same time, it should be noted that the populations of this species are noticeably smaller than the spruce crossbills.

White-winged crossbills have chosen the vastness of the Russian taiga, the North American continent, and also Scandinavia. Prefers forests with a predominance of larch.

Scottish crossbills are found exclusively in the UK, as they are endemic.

Since crossbills are constantly moving in search of food, they can also be found:

  • In the vastness of the tundra.
  • In the steppes.
  • Within the mountain ranges.

An interesting moment! When scientists were ringing birds, they managed to find them 3 and a half thousand kilometers from the places where ringing took place.

Natural enemies of crossbills

Crossbills have practically no natural enemies, since this bird is not of gastronomic interest for many predators. This is due to the fact that the meat of the crossbills tastes bitter due to the fact that the components of conifers form the basis of their diet. Due to the fact that it contains a high concentration of resins, the bird, as it were, embalms itself during its life.

Interesting to know! After the death of this bird, its body does not decompose, but acquires the properties of a stuffed animal, due to the presence of coniferous resins in the body. It is with this factor that one of the legends about the incorruptibility of the body of crossbills is associated.

The main enemy of crossbills is a person, although he does not directly destroy crossbills, but he interferes with their livelihoods, destroying forests. Because of this, the total number of these birds is decreasing at a high rate. Crossbills are perfectly adapted to severe frosts and harsh life in the conditions of taiga forest plantations. Despite the fact that these birds have no enemies in nature, humans have a negative impact on their livelihoods.

It’s important to know! These birds feed their offspring with coniferous seeds. To make the seeds easier to swallow and digest, parents soften them in their goiter.

Crossbill nutrition

To think that the crossbill feeds exclusively on the seeds of spruce or pine cones is a misconception, although this is its main diet. The beak of the crossbill tears off the scales, exposing the seeds, but only a third of the cone is consumed.

The bird does not bother with hard-to-reach grains, it is easier for him to find a new cone. The rest flies to the ground and feeds mice, squirrels or other forest dwellers for a long time.

The crossbill feeds additionally, especially during the period of poor harvest of cones, by the buds of spruce and pine, gnaws the resin on the branches along with bark, seeds of larch, maple, ash, insects and aphids. In captivity, he does not give up mealworms, oatmeal, mountain ash, millet, sunflower and hemp.

Habitat and lifestyle of the crossbill

The ancestors of modern crossbills are very ancient, existed about 9-10 million years ago. In the spruce and pine forests of the Northern Hemisphere, the main types of crossbills were formed. Their dispersal directly depends on the yield of cones, which are the basis of bird nutrition.

Therefore, crossbills live both in the tundra and in the steppe regions, make significant flights to places rich in food. There are cases when ringed birds were found 3000 km from the original place.

In the photo is the bird crossbill spruce

In Russia, they live in coniferous forests of mountainous areas in the south of the country, in the northwestern regions. The bird can be found in mixed forests with a predominance of fir trees. Crossbill does not live in cedar forests. There are practically no enemies of the crossbill in nature.

This is explained by the fact that due to the constant use of seeds, birds “embalm” themselves during their lifetime and become very tasteless, or rather, bitter for predators. Therefore, after natural death, they do not decompose, they mummify, which is facilitated by their prepared organism with a high m of resins.

Crossbills know how to fly well, but it is impossible to say that crossbill is a migratory bird, or crossbill is a resident bird. Rather, the crossbill is a nomadic representative of birds. The roaming of birds is associated with the harvest.

The pine tree breeze feeds on the seeds of cones

In places saturated with food, birds spend time in endless climbing trees, the shape of the beak at the crossbill allows them to do this dexterously, like parrots. For this feature and the bright coloring of the feathers, they were nicknamed the northern parrots. They rarely go down to the ground, and on the branches they feel confident even upside down.

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Crossbill propagation

Unlike other birds, crossbills chicks appear in the coldest time. in winter, often at Christmas, as the supreme grace according to legend. This is facilitated by feed stocks.

Nests are built by the female crossbill on the tops of conifers or on branches under the reliable cover of large needle paws from rain and snow. Construction is started with the onset of the first frost and is done taking into account the most severe tests: with an insulated bedding of moss, wool of various animals, bird feathers, lichens.

The walls of the nest are distinguished by their strength: from skillfully intertwined branches, the inner and outer layers are formed, otherwise the double walls of the dwelling. The nest is often compared to a thermos for maintaining a constant temperature environment. Klest in winter, despite frosts, is active enough to provide for its offspring.

The incubation of a clutch of 3-5 eggs lasts 15-16 days. All this time, the male takes care of the female, feeds the seeds, warmed up and softened in the goiter. Chicks of 5-20 days of life in different species already leave the nest. Their beak is straight at first, so the parents feed the young for 1-2 months.

And then the chicks master the science of cutting cones and, together with the changed beak, begin an independent life. Crossbill chick does not immediately receive colored clothing. At first, the color of the plumage is gray with scattered spots. Only by the year are birds dyed into adult clothes.

Christ’s bird

During the crucifixion of Christ, when his torment was severe, a bird flew in and tried to pull the nails out of Jesus’ body with its beak. But the fearless and kind crumbs had too little strength, which only disfigured its beak and stained its chest with blood.

The Almighty thanked the little intercessor and endowed her with special properties. It was a crossbill, and its uniqueness is in three forms:

The answers to mysteriousness lie in the way of life of birds, but it is no less interesting.

Crossbill description

Crossbill bird. small in size, up to 20 cm, from the order of passerines, it is distinguished by a dense stocky build, a short forked tail, a large head and a special beak, the halves of which are bent and shifted in different directions, forming a cross.

Why the crossbill has such a beak becomes clear when the crossbill begins to rapidly hatch seeds from the cones. Nature has perfectly adapted him to obtain such food.

The tenacious paws allow the crossbill to climb trees and hang upside down to the cones. The color of the breast in males is red-crimson, and in females it is greenish-gray. Wings and tails of crossbills turn into brownish-gray shades.

Klest feels confident on a branch, even upside down

Singing crossbills in high notes resembles chirping with an admixture of loud whistles and serves to connect flocks of birds. The roll call usually happens on small flights, and the crossbills are silent on the branches.

Listen to the voice of the bird crossbill

There are five to six types of crossbills, of which three main ones live on the territory of Russia: spruce crossbill, pine crossbill and white-winged crossbill. They all have a similar diet and habitat. The names speak of small features of the species in terms of a preference for a coniferous forest environment and the presence of white feathers on the sides.

Crossbill bird. Description and features of the bird crossbill

Legends tell about this mysterious bird. You may not believe the legend, but the actual unusualness of these small birds, the size of a large sparrow, attracts the interest of any person who is not indifferent to the natural world.

crossbill at home

Klest is an unusually interesting and socially active bird. They quickly get used to life in new conditions, become gullible and sociable. In addition to constantly moving around the cage, they can show ingenuity and get out of it.

What kind of crossbill is a mockingbird, the owners of several birds know: the crossbill weaves into its trills the voices of other birds heard.

Crossbill beak is crossed to make it easy to get seeds from cones

Once upon a time, itinerant musicians taught crossbills with their beaks to get lucky tickets or participate in fortune-telling. The ability to learn simple actions makes birds pets. If the crossbill lives in a cramped cage without maintaining food needs and temperature, it loses its crimson color, turns pale to the color of a female, and then dies.

birds in good conditions contributes to the preservation of their bright color and life expectancy up to 10 years. In captivity, birds reproduce well under the created nesting conditions.

Bird-breeding enthusiasts strive to achieve different color and voice variations, so it becomes clear why the crossbill has the voice of a canary or the outfit of a bullfinch. Studying crossbills is an exciting activity that brings joy of communication with the most ancient birds of our wildlife.

Klest is a forest songbird from the finch family. Klest-elovik: description, lifestyle

Klest is a legendary bird, its bright plumage and babbling singing attracts the attention of not only bird lovers, but also indifferent people. This is a bird from the finch order of passerines, which can easily be confused with a parrot, because the curved beak, extraordinary ingenuity and habits of these birds are somewhat similar. There is something mysterious about these crossbills.

The process of removing feed from the bud

First of all, the crossbill cuts off the bump, like with scissors. Holding it by the tail, it tries to pull the food out onto a comfortable horizontal surface. This, believe me, is not so simple. It balances with its tail and free paw. If you cannot hold the bump with one foot, then the crossbill presses it with its entire abdomen. Now we are talking about the elovik. From frequent contact with the bumps on the abdomen of the earner, a tar trail often remains.

First, the bird penetrates the scales and tears it apart. If the cone is open, then the bird penetrates deeper and pulls out the seed. A rough tongue comes to the rescue.

But the lump is very difficult for a fragile bird. And it often falls before the crossbill has time to harvest the entire crop. Therefore, the bird eats 1/4 of the seeds at best.

Food

The main food is the seeds of the cones, the crossbill only eats their kernels. If the seed is difficult to process, the bird simply throws it away and looks for another cone. Fallen nuts serve as food for other forest dwellers. The yield of this product determines the place where the crossbill lives in a given season.

When there is a shortage of cones, he eats coniferous buds or ate resin together with the bark. In captivity, she enjoys eating worms, sunflower seeds and oatmeal.

Every bird is sinless

There is a legend that when Jesus was crucified, a bullfinch and a crossbill flew to him. The bullfinch broke the thorns on the crown of thorns and stained his chest. And the crossbill tried to pull out the nails with which Christ was crucified, but the little bird did not succeed, he only mutilated his beak.

God thanked the bird and presented several unique properties. Indeed, when closed, the bird’s beak forms a cross. Crossbill is incorruptible after death, and hatches chicks in winter by Christmas. Everything, of course, has a scientific explanation, but this does not detract from its mysteriousness.

Reproduction

Klest is a frost-hardy bird. Like other birds, they breed when there is enough food. Chicks are born in autumn and spring, but most often at Christmas. Nests are built on the tops of coniferous trees or under the reliable paws of branches to protect the dwelling from moisture. Usually they choose those places that are rich in food, because in this case you will not have to leave offspring unattended for a long time.

The walls of the nest have two layers of intertwined twigs. They insulate “houses” with moss, feathers or scraps of wool from wild animals. The housing turns out to be very durable and warm, has the properties of a thermos.

Usually there are 3-4 eggs in a clutch. The shell color ranges from yellowish white to off-white, with grayish or purple specks scattered over it. Egg weight 3 g, length. 19-25 mm, diameter. 15-18 mm.

Despite the frosts, the bird actively protects its offspring. The female incubates the clutch for about 2 weeks. During this time, the male takes care of the expectant mother, carries grains, having previously softened in the throat. This is one of the elements of the marriage ritual. On the 5th day, the crossbill chick leaves the nest, but its beak is not bent yet. Therefore, parents help him get food for the first time.

When the beak is formed, the young crossbills learn to extract seeds from the buds. From that moment on, they are considered full-fledged adults and begin to live separately.

The color of young birds is different from that of adults. At first, their plumage is grayish, and in the third year of life, they acquire permanent bright clothes.

Types of crossbill

To date, six varieties of crossbill are well studied and quite common:

  • spruce crossbill or ordinary (Lokhia curvirostra) is a forest songbird. Males have a red or reddish-crimson main plumage and a gray-white underbelly. Females are characterized by a greenish-gray coloration with yellow-green edging on the feathers. The young bird is gray, with mottles, and the first-year males have orange-yellow plumage. The beak is not too thick, elongated, less curved, slightly crossed. The head is large enough;
  • pine crossbill (Lochia pytyopsittacus) is a forest, rather large songbird with a body length of 16-18 cm and a characteristic coloration of the plumage. The main difference is represented by a very massive beak, consisting of a thick mandible and an upper mandible. The upper part of the beak is blunt. Females of this species also sing, but more quietly and rather uniformly;
  • white-winged crossbill (Lohia leuсotera) is a songbird, medium-sized bird, with a body length within 14-16cm. The variety is characterized by very pronounced sexual dimorphism. Females have yellow plumage, and males have crimson-red or brick-red feathers. The wings are black with a pair of white stripes;
  • Scottish crossbill (Lochia sotica) is the only endemic in the UK. A medium-sized bird with a body length of 15-17 cm with an average weight of 50 g. The upper and lower beaks are crossed among themselves.

Also, the varieties are represented by Lohia megaplaga Riley or Spanish crossbill, and Lohia sibiris Pallas or Siberian crossbill.

Habitat and habitats

Spruce crossbills inhabit coniferous forest zones in Europe, as well as Northwest Africa, northern and central Asia and America, the Philippines and the territory of the countries of the former Soviet Union. Prefers coniferous and mixed, mainly spruce forests.

The pine crossbill inhabits coniferous pine forests. Breeds in large numbers in Scandinavia and in the north-eastern part of Europe. This variety is rarer than the spruce crossbill. The habitat of the white-winged crossbill is the Russian TAIGA, Scandinavia and North America. This variety gives preference to forest zones with a predominance of larch.

How Birds Got (And Kept) Their Beaks

Diet, food crossbill

Crossbills belong to birds, for which a highly specialized type of food is characteristic. All species have a sharply curved beak, which intersects with the beak, therefore the basis of the diet is the seeds that are in the cones of coniferous trees.

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Also, the crossbill often pecks up sunflower seeds. It is extremely rare for a bird of this type to eat insects, as a rule, aphids.

It is interesting! In summer, in the presence of a limited food base, crossbills are able to peck seeds on wild grasses, and in some years, flocks of such birds can cause significant damage to the plantings of cultivated plants.

Crossbill lifestyle

Klest is a diurnal, rather mobile, nimble and noisy forest bird. Adults fly quickly, using a wavy trajectory in flight. A feature of the crossbill is its nomadic lifestyle. Flocks very often fly from place to place in search of a more productive area.

It is interesting! Klest belongs to forest birds of the second category of rarity, therefore it is mentioned on the pages of the Red Book of Moscow.

Natural enemies of the crossbill, as such, are absent, which is due to the constant use of coniferous seeds for food. The bird, thus, in the process of life “embalms” itself, therefore the meat of such birds becomes tasteless, very bitter, absolutely uninteresting for any predators. After death, the crossbill does not decompose, but mummifies, due to the high content of resin in the body.

Reproduction of crossbills

On the territory of the middle zone of our country, crossbills, as a rule, begin the nesting process in March. Repeated nesting is observed in the last decade of summer or early autumn, with a simultaneous harvest of larch and pine. In winter, from December to March, birds make nests only in regions with a very high seed yield. Almost all species reproduce regardless of the season.

Birds arrange nests in the dense crown of coniferous trees, most often on fir trees and somewhat less often on pines, at a height of 2-10 m from ground level. The entire outer part of the nest is made using fairly thin spruce twigs, and the inner part is laid out with the thinnest branches, moss and lichen. The litter of the tray in the finished nest is represented by animal hair and a small amount of bird feathers. The average nest diameter is 12-13cm with a height of 8-10cm and a tray size of 7.2 × 5.2cm.

As a rule, the clutch of a crossbill is three or five eggs of an almost snow-white color with a slight blue tint and a size of 22x16mm. On the surface of the eggs, there are reddish-brown streaks. The incubation period of the laid eggs is a couple of weeks, during which the female is in the nest, and the male gets food and feeds her.

The hatched chicks are covered with a rather thick gray fluff. The first few days, the female heats the chicks, and then, along with the male, begins to fly out of the nest in search of food.

It is interesting! To feed the chicks, seeds of different conifers softened in the goiter of the male and female are used.

The first flight is carried out by chicks at the age of three weeks. At this age, young birds do not fly far and always spend the night in their nest.

Even the chicks that left the nest at first are always fed by the parents.

Description and appearance

All types of crossbills belong to birds from the order of passerines, and by the structure of their body they vaguely resemble sparrows, but are slightly larger than them. The tail of such a bird is rather short in size, with a neat fork-shaped cut. The head is relatively large. Strong and sturdy paws allow the bird to easily cling to tree branches, and even hang upside down for a long time.

The coloration of the plumage of the male crossbill is very elegant and festive. crimson red or pure red. Along the entire abdomen of the bird, there are stripes of whitish-gray color. But the plumage of females is more modest, in greenish and grayish shades and with a yellowish-green edging on the feathers. Young crossbills also have an unattractive gray color and variegated specks.

Notable is the crossbill beak, which is characterized by a rather unusual shape. The lower and upper parts of the beak almost overlap each other, making it a very powerful tool for easily harvesting seeds from the tightly attached bud scales.

Habitat

The ancestors of modern crossbills are quite ancient, they are 7-9 million years old. In the coniferous forests of the Northern Hemisphere, the main population of crossbills was born. Their settlement directly depends on the yield of cones, which are the main food for birds. Therefore, crossbills live both in the tundra and in the forest-steppe, making long flights to places rich in food. There have been cases when they were found 2000 km from the nesting sites.

How Nature Works: White-winged Crossbill Feeding Technique

In Russia, they live in pine and spruce forests of mountainous terrain in the southern regions of the country, in the northwest. The bird can be found in forests with a predominance of fir trees. Spruce crossbills do not live in cedar forests. The bird has practically no enemies. This is explained simply: due to the consumption of coniferous seeds, birds seem to embalm themselves during life and become too bitter for predators. After natural death, they mummify, and this is facilitated by their body with a large m of coniferous resins.

Crossbills fly well, but it is impossible to say that crossbill is a migratory or sedentary bird. Klest is more likely a representative of nomadic birds. The roaming of birds is closely related to the harvest. In places saturated with food, birds endlessly climb trees, since the shape of the beak at the crossbill makes it possible to do this without difficulty, like parrots. It is for this skill and the bright color of the feathers that they received the name “northern parrots”. They almost never go down to the ground, and on the branches they feel great even when turned over.

Description

The tenacity of the paws allows the bird to climb trees, hanging upside down to the cone. The color of the breast of males is crimson, and that of females is greenish-gray. The tails and wings of birds turn into a gray-brown scale. Singing crossbills with high notes resembles chirping with an admixture of whistling. This is observed during flights. On the branches, the birds are silent.

There are several species of birds, three of which are the main ones and live in the vastness of Russia:

  • Klest-elovik;
  • White-winged;
  • Pine crossbill.

They are similar in habitat and feeding habits. The names are intertwined with the peculiarities of the species according to the choice of conifers of the forest and the presence of white feathers.

Bird of christ

During the severe torment of Christ on the crucifixion, a bird flew to Jesus and tried to pull the nails out of his body with its beak. But the fearless crumbs had very little strength, only disfiguring its beak and staining its chest with blood. The Lord thanked the intercessor, endowing her with unusual properties. It was a crossbill, and its unusualness lies in three things:

  • cruciform beak;
  • birth at Christmas;
  • incorruptibility.

Bird crossbill-spruce: description, nutrition, reproduction

There are legends about this bird. You may not believe the legends, but the unusualness of these little birds, the size of a large sparrow, is interesting to any person who is not indifferent to the natural world.

The bird is small, up to 20 cm, belonging to the order of passerines, with a dense build, a forked tail and an unusual beak. Its halves are bent and diverge in different directions, forming a cross as a result. With such a beak, it is ideal to hull seeds from the cones. Nature has adapted him well for getting his own food.

Reproduction

The chicks at the crossbills, unlike other birds, appear in winter, often at Christmas, as the grace of the Almighty, according to legend. This is facilitated by feed stocks. The nest is built by the female on top of the conifers or under the cover of branchy branches from rain and snow. The construction of nests begins with the first frost and is done taking into account all the harsh tests: with a warm lining of moss, animal hair, lichens, bird feathers.

The walls of the nest boast durability: from the woven twigs, several layers, inner and outer, are obtained. The nest is often equated with a thermos for maintaining a constant temperature environment. In winter, the crossbill, despite the frosts, is quite active to provide for its offspring.

The incubation of a clutch of 3-4 eggs lasts an average of 15 days. During this time, the male takes care of the female in every possible way, feeds the seeds softened in the goiter. Chicks from 5-20 days of life already leave their nest. At first, their beak is straight, so the parents spend a month feeding the young.

When the beak acquires its shape, the chicks begin to master the science of obtaining seeds from cones and, together with the new beak, begin to live independently. The crossbill chick does not immediately have a beautiful colored plumage. At first, its color is gray with spots. Only after a year has passed, the birds change clothes for an adult.

Food

It would be wrong to think that the crossbill feeds only on the seeds of cones of conifers, although they are its main food. The feathery beak tears off the scales, exposing the seeds, but only a third of the cone is used for food. The bird leaves hard-to-reach grains, it is easier for it to find another cone. The excess flies to the ground and becomes food for mice or squirrels, as well as for other forest inhabitants.

The crossbill can additionally feed on the buds of spruce or pine, especially in case of a shortage of cones, gnaws the protruding resin along with the bark of trees, as well as other seeds, insects and aphids. In captivity, he does not disdain mealworms, oatmeal, mountain ash, hemp and sunflower seeds.

at home

Klest is unusually interesting and socially active. They quickly get used to life in a changing environment, they are gullible and sociable. They constantly move around the cage, they can get out of it, showing ingenuity. What a crossbill-spruce mockingbird, the owners of many birds know: he easily imitates the voices of other birds heard.

In ancient times, itinerant musicians taught crossbills to get lucky tickets or take part in fortune telling. Easy learning of simple actions turns birds into pets. If the crossbill lives in a cage without proper nutrition and ambient temperature, it loses its crimson color, turns pale, and then dies. birds in suitable conditions contributes to the invariability of their bright color and life up to 10 years. In captivity, birds reproduce successfully if acceptable nesting conditions are met.

Fans of breeding new breeds of birds achieve a variety of color and voice options, therefore it becomes clear how the crossbill suddenly has the voice of a canary or the clothes of a bullfinch. Studying and breeding crossbills is an exciting activity that brings joy of communication with these ancient birds of wildlife.

FUNDAYUNA.COM 2021