|Photo by David Whitaker (Wild Photo Forum)|
Scottish crossbill (en); cruza-bico-escocês (pt); bec-croisé d'Écosse (fr); piquituerto escocés (es); Schottland-kreuzschnabel (de)
This species is endemic to the Caledonian Forests of Scotland, in the eastern Highlands, with core areas in Nairn, Moray and Banff, extending down into lower Deeside, and in Sutherland.
These birds are 16 cm long and weigh 40-45 g.
The Scottish crossbill is found in semi-natural stands of Scots pine Pinus sylvestris and in conifer plantations.
They mainly feed on pine seeds, but will also eat shoots and buds. In spring they also eat insects, namely pine sawfly Neodiprion sertifer.
Scottish crossbills breed in February-June. The cup-shaped nest is made of twigs, grasses, straws and lichen, and lined with moss, feather and animal fur. The nest is usually placed in a pine tree, 5-15 m above the ground. The female lays 2-6 eggs, which she incubates alone for 13-15 days while receivinf food from the male. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 3 weeks after hatching, but continue to receive food from the parents for another 10 days.
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
Although this species has a small breeding range and a global population of just 13.600 individuals, the population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. Suitable semi-natural habitats have been much reduced and fragmented in the past, but the amount of plantation woodland has increased substantially during the 20th century, so the Scottish crossbill is not considered threatened at present.