crossbill

crossbill

[kraws-bil, kros-]
noun
any bird belonging to the genus Loxia, of the finch family, characterized by mandibles curved so that the tips cross each other when the bill is closed.

Origin:
1665–75; cross- + bill2

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World English Dictionary
crossbill (ˈkrɒsˌbɪl)
 
n
any of various widely distributed finches of the genus Loxia, such as L. curvirostra, that occur in coniferous woods and have a bill with crossed mandible tips for feeding on conifer seeds

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

crossbill

any of the three birds of the genus Loxia, noted for their crossed mandibles, with which they pry open conifer cones to get at the seeds. Crossbills are in the family Carduelidae, sometimes considered a subfamily of the Fringillidae (order Passeriformes). The red crossbill (L. curvirostra) and the white-winged, or two-barred, crossbill (L. leucoptera) occur throughout the colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere, and each has a small population isolated in the New World tropics. The parrot crossbill (L. pytyopsittacus) of northern Eurasia has a larger bill.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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