Parrot Crossbill

Here’s the answer

Besides a guess for Two-barred Crossbill, some guessed the mystery undertail coverts belonged to congener, the Pine Grosbeak. No, it’s a crossbill sp. No worries if you got it wrong- best way to learn!  Photographed in the Scottish Highlands and I agree with the photographer, it looks like a male Parrot Crossbill. I’ve not seen one in Britain since the early 1980’s. Do you remember the breeding pair at Wells Wood, Norfolk and the little warden’s caravan?

I often think one might be easily overlooked in a flock of Crossbills as I am very rusty. I would want to get sound recording, though I hope if I found a male that looked like this in the Sheffield area I would be pretty pleased! Hopefully sooner than later…

Male Parrot Crossbill, Highland, Scotland, June 2011 All photos © David Darrell-Lambert (

4 thoughts on “Parrot Crossbill

  1. suffolk Birder

    Thought Parrot Crossbill before going for Pine Grosbeak, but could not find any birds with such well marked undertail coverts, is this normal within Parrot Crossbill

  2. Lindsay Cargill

    Yes, undertail coverts are well marked like this in all crossbill sp. Looks very good for a Parrot Crossbill – the clincher being the front on view as the mandibles are very broad, and with very wide lower mandible. This is a great ID feature for disntiguishing Parrot Crossbill visually. Note also feeding on closed Scots Pine cones. Great photos !

    Lindsay Cargill


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