Male red crossbill on branch of spruce tree

Common crossbill

Common crossbills have a distinctively shaped beak that gives them their name. Folklore tells that the crossbill got its beak when it attempted to remove the nails from Jesus' hands and feet as he was crucified on the cross. The crossed bill enables crossbills to pull pine seeds out of pine cones.

Did you know?
The peculiar beak allows the crossbill to exploit a niche not used by other seed-eating birds.

All you need to know about British birds.

Scientific name: Loxia curvirostra

Rank: Species

Common names:

Red crossbill

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Map showing the distribution of the Common crossbill taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Common crossbill can be found in a number of locations including: Asia, China, Europe, North America, Russia, United Kingdom. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Common crossbill distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Perching birds
  6. Finches
  7. Loxia
  8. Common crossbill