White-winged Crossbill – Accepted

1-12. 01 Sep 1978


Mosquito Lake TRI




White-winged Crossbill – Not accepted, identification not established

25 Dec 1992


Albion MEN













White-winged Crossbill

WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL Loxia leucoptera Gmelin, 1789

Accepted: 12 (21%)

Treated in Appendix H: no

Not accepted: 45

CBRC review: all records

Not submitted/reviewed: 0

Color image: none

This crossbill is a denizen of coniferous forests around most of the Northern Hemisphere. In the Old World, L. l. bifasciata occurs from northern Scandinavia east across northern and central Eurasia to eastern Siberia and Lake Baikal. The Hispaniolan Crossbill (L. megaplaga), a rare and imperiled resident of pines on its namesake island, was recently accorded species status (Banks et al. 2003). Subspecies leucoptera breeds across North America’s boreal forests. The northern breeding limit extends from southwestern and west-central Alaska and northern Yukon eastward to Newfoundland. The southern limit reaches from southern British Columbia east to Maine, with rare or irregular breeding south to Washington, southwestern Colorado, and probably north-central New Mexico. Birds winter throughout the breeding range and regularly wander south to the north-central and northeastern United States but are also prone to unpredictable incursions far south of the usual winter range. During such events, the species has reached southern Oregon, southern Utah, central New Mexico, northern Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina, and Tennessee (NAB 58:239). Individuals involved in these irruptions have been detected in southerly climes as early as late July or August. East of the Rocky Mts., small numbers may remain south of the breeding range into April or May, and some have been recorded well into June. Several northern states that lie outside the normal breeding range claim summer records suggestive of casual breeding, and nesting has been confirmed in Wisconsin (Robbins 1991), Minnesota (Janssen 1987), northern New York (Levine 1998), and western Massachusetts (LeBaron 2002).

California’s only record of the White-winged Crossbill—involving 12 birds observed on 1 September 1978 at Mosquito Lake, Trinity County (Gordon et al. 1989)—occurred during a year when large numbers pushed south through Washington into Oregon. This species, the Bridled Tern, and the White-collared Swift are the only species on the state list that still lack a California specimen or photograph.