The parrot crossbill is a large, powerful finch. It has a deep parrot-like bill and a sharply forked tail. The male is orange to red with dusky wings and tail, the female is olive-green or grey. It is very similar to the crossbill and Scottish crossbill - the bill structure and the distinctive, deeper call is the most reliable way to separate them.
It irrupts into Britain some years from Europe after the corn crop has failed there and has bred away from its stronghold in Abernethy Forest. They are listed on Schedule 1 of The Wildlife and Countryside Act.
What they eat:
Conifer seeds, mainly pine, and some insects in the breeding season.
- 48-61 g
- UK breeding:
- 50 pairs
This bird species has different identifying features depending on sex/age/season.