crossbill


crossbill
/kraws"bil', kros"-/, n.
any bird belonging to the genus Loxia, of the finch family, characterized by mandibles curved so that the tips cross each other when the bill is closed.
[1665-75; CROSS- + BILL2]

* * *

▪ bird genus
 any of several species of birds (bird) of the finch family, Fringillidae (order Passeriformes (passeriform)), known for their crossed mandibles. The crossed bill tips are inserted between the scales of cones (cone) so that the tongue can lift the seed out. Because conifers (conifer) produce seed unpredictably, flocks wander widely and may be abundant in an area one year and absent the next.

      North America hosts a variety of crossbills. In fact, evidence suggests that the eight different varieties of the red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) may actually be different species. Each has a slightly different call note, a variant of the hard “kip-kip” given in flight. There are also differences in diet and bill size, with different forms feeding on specific conifers; for example, the larger-billed varieties choose trees with larger cones. The stubby little red crossbill also eats insects (insect), buds, and berries and is particularly attracted to salt.

      The spruce-loving white-winged crossbill (L. leucoptera) occurs throughout the colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It wanders widely, but when it finds a good crop of cones, it may nest there, even in midwinter. An isolated variety of the species lives in the pine forests of Hispaniola. It utters a dry, rattling, mechanical trill in flight.

      Eurasian species include the Scottish crossbill (L. scoticus) and the parrot crossbill (L. pytyopsittacus).

Sy Montgomery
 

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Crossbill — Red (Common) Crossbill Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia …   Wikipedia

  • Crossbill — Cross bill , n. (Zo[ o]l.) A bird of the genus {Loxia}, allied to the finches. Their mandibles are strongly curved and cross each other; the crossbeak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Crossbill — Cross bill ( b[i^]l ). (Law) A bill brought by a defendant, in an equity or chancery suit, against the plaintiff, respecting the matter in question in that suit. Bouvier. [1913 Webster] Note: In criminal practice, cross bills of indictment for… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • crossbill — [krôs′bil΄] n. any of a genus (Loxia) of finches having a bill with curving points that cross …   English World dictionary

  • crossbill — kryžiasnapiai statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Loxia angl. crossbill vok. Kreuzschnabel, m rus. клёст, m pranc. bec croisé, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – čivyliai siauresnis terminas – eglinis kryžiasnapis siauresnis… …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • crossbill — noun Date: circa 1672 any of a genus (Loxia of the family Fringillidae) of finches with curved mandibles that cross each other …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • crossbill — noun Any of various finches of the genus Loxia, whose bill crosses over at the tips; they are specialist feeders on conifer cones …   Wiktionary

  • crossbill — n. any of several species of bird with curved mandibles which cross when closed and enable the bird to extract seeds from cones …   English contemporary dictionary

  • crossbill — noun a thickset finch with a crossed bill adapted for extracting seeds from the cones of conifers. [Loxia curvirostra and related species.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • crossbill — cross•bill [[t]ˈkrɔsˌbɪl, ˈkrɒs [/t]] n. orn any bird of the genus Loxia (family Fringillidae), of coniferous forests of the Northern Hemisphere, having a bill with crossed tips used to extract seeds from cones • Etymology: 1665–75 …   From formal English to slang


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.