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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

White-winged Crossbill -- Loxia leucoptera

RANGE: Resident from northeastern Alaska, south to the Pacific Northwest, throughout most of southern Canada, the eastern coast of Canada, and northern New England.

STATUS: Irregular.

HABITAT: Inhabits boreal forests, leaving them only when food is scarce.


NEST: Builds a deep, saucer-shaped nest composed of lichens and twigs on branches of conifer trees. Frequently locates nest in a spruce tree, sometimes relatively close to the ground (2 to 70 feet). May breed during any month of the year, but mostly from January to May.

FOOD: Consumes a variety of foods, but seems to prefer seeds of Norway spruce and hemlock. Also eats insects, seeds of other conifers and deciduous trees, and some fruits.

REFERENCES: Forbush and May 1955, Terres 1980.

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