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Birding Málaga


Common name Common crossbill
Scientific name Loxia curvirostra
Type Forest birds
Status Resident

Small bird (approx 17 cm or 6.5 in) with large head. Males with rufous plumage and greenish in females. The juveniles have greyish brown plumage with stretch marks. Borders of the wings somewhat darker in both sexes. The most distinctive feature is its bill, unique in the bird wildlife present in the province: it is large and sturdy, in the shape of a scissor with crossed jaws.


Woodland environment

Where it lives

Forest species specialized in pine and fir woods. It is present mainly in medium and high mountain pine woods although it can also be observed in forests near the coast.

How it lives

Bird resident all year round in the province. It can breed almost any month of the year depending on the availability of food, but it usually starts early (February or March). Nest in trees. It lays 3 or 4 eggs. Very specialized food, especially pine nuts of different species of pine and also Spanish firs. Insects during the breeding period and other fleshy fruits of shrubs. Gregarious and nomadic behaviour. The flocks move looking for pine woods with good production of pine nuts.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

The crossbill is linked to forest stands of conifers, so it can be watched in the Montes de Málaga, Sierra de las Nieves, Sierra de Mijas or surroundings of Juanar, for example. In the Great Path it can be observed in stages 7, 11, 12, 20, 21, 22, 31 and 34.

Curious facts

Crossbills have a very characteristic call, especially when they are in the mating period. Then they perch on the highest branches of the pines, either in solitary specimens or in those at the edge of the forest. Their bill is a special adaptation that serves as a pincer to open the pine cones and nuts.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration