Red crossbill

Terra Nova National Park

Scientific Name: Loxia curvirostra percna

Conservation Status: Endangered


Red Crossbills are finches that are named for their unique crossed beaks. The crossed mandibles allow them to open closed conifer cones to retrieve seeds inside.

The percna subspecies is unique to insular Newfoundland. It has a larger beak and a call that is unique from that of other crossbill species.


The exact reason for Red Crossbill decline is unknown. However, the continual decline of percna has been noted for decades.

Crossbills are thought to require a mosaic of cone producing conifers for foraging, roosting and nesting. Habitat loss is likely a significant threat to the Red Crossbill.



Parks Canada has worked with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Canadian Wildlife Service on a recovery strategy for the Red Crossbill. Staff in Terra Nova National Park monitor Red Crossbills annually as part of their winter bird monitoring survey.

Parks Canada encourages the public to look for the species, particularly at winter bird feeders where they will occasionally show up. Any occurrence data helps to determine habitat requirements and needs of the species. All efforts to improve forest health and the restoration of coniferous forests will ultimately improve habitat conditions for Red Crossbills.

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