Several species of crossbills occur in Europe, with the three plainwinged ones – the common, Parrot, and Scottish Crossbills being the most difficult to separate.The common Crossbill feeds on spruce seeds but also survives quite well in areas where larch or pine predominate (trees favoured by the smaller Two-barred and larger Scottish or Parrot Crossbills). It is subject to periodic irruptions when large numbers travel far and wide in search of food: almost any clump of pines may then host Crossbills for a time.They feed quietly but may burst out of a treetop with loud flight calls.
VOICE Loud, abrupt calls, similar to young Greenfinch but louder, more staccato, jup-jup-jup or chip-chip-chip; quiet conversational notes while feeding; song mixes buzzy notes, calls, and bright warbles and trills.
NESTING Small nest of twigs, moss, and bark, lined with hair or wool; 3 or 4 eggs;1 brood; January-March.
FEEDING Eats seeds of spruce, larch, pine, and other conifers, using crossed bill to prise them from cones on twigs; also eats some berries, buds, and insects.