Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Two-barred Crossbill (Loxia leucoptera)


French: Bec-croisé bifascié German: Bindenkreuzschnabel Spanish: Piquituerto aliblanco

Loxia leucoptera

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Hudson Bay, Canada, and New York, USA


Previously treated as conspecific with L. megaplaga, but differs in plumage details; recent genetic analysis indicates that the two are better treated as separate species. Furthermore, vocal and genetic differences have been employed to suggest that present species might be separated into two, Eurasian and North American, species#R#R#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. l. bifasciata (C. L. Brehm, 1827) – Two-barred Crossbill – N Fennoscandia, NW & N Russia (Kola Peninsula E in broad band through Siberia to Sea of Okhotsk, S to C Urals, L Baikal area, Yablonovy Mts and W Amurland), probably also extreme NE China (N Heilongjiang); winters also S to NE Europe (irregular), NE China (Liaoning and Hebei) and S Siberia.
  • L. l. leucoptera J. F. Gmelin, 1789 – White-winged Crossbill – Alaska and C & S Canada E to C & E Quebec, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, S in USA to N Washington, N Wisconsin and S Maine; also C Oregon and Rocky Mts S to W Wyoming, N Utah and even S Colorado and N New Mexico; in winter also S to S Minnesota, N Ohio, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, occasionally further south.
  • Descriptive notes

    14·5–17 cm; 25–40 g. Medium-large, short-legged and fork-tailed finch with broad white wingbars and distinctive crossed mandibles. Male nominate race has... read more


    Song, usually from treetop or in display-flight, in North America a long, rapid series of rich and... read more


    Inhabits dense conifer forests and plantations, mainly larch and larch-pine (Larix-... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly conifer seeds, buds, berries and shoots, mainly of larch and spruce, also pine, and birch (Betula), alder (Alnus)... read more


    Season Feb to mid-May or Jun–Aug in Europe and Russia, Jan–Aug in North America, timing largely determined by availability of... read more


    Resident, migratory and irruptively nomadic. Occasionally present throughout entire winter N to... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally abundant. Estimated European breeding population between 1000 and 10,000 pairs, and up to a further 100,000 pairs in Russia. In SE... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). Two-barred Crossbill (Loxia leucoptera). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 January 2020).