Parrot Crossbill Loxia pytyopsittacus


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
In Europe (which covers >95% of the breeding range), the breeding population is estimated to be 424,000-1,560,000 pairs, which equates to 848,000-3,120,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.


This is a species of lowland pine forests and woodlands. It is found predominantly in tall, mature and open woodlands of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and occasionally in mixed conifer forests with larch (Larix), spruce (Picea) and rowan (Sorbus). It also occurs in coastal shelter-belts and introduced conifer plantations, usually of large-coned species. On passage and in wintering areas may occur more widely in mixed conifer and deciduous woodlands. The breeding season runs from December to late June and it generally lays three to four eggs. The nest is constructed mostly of dry conifer twigs, bark strips, pine needles, grass, leaves, moss, lichens, plant fibres and down, animal hair or fur, and sometimes also some feathers. It is normally placed close to the trunk, on a branch or in a fork up to 20 m above ground in a conifer at the woodland edge. It feeds mostly on seeds, buds and shoots, commonly of pines (particularly Scots pine) and spruce (Clement 2016). The species is resident and dispersive and also occasionally irruptive (Snow and Perrins 1998).


The population is thought to have declined near the end of the 20th century as a result of the commercial removal of mature pine trees, which affected amount and distribution of conifer seed (Clement 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
This species would likely benefit from the maintenance of low-intensity forestry management practices, including the preservation of mature trees.


Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Loxia pytyopsittacus. Downloaded from on 22/11/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/11/2019.