Two-barred Crossbill Loxia leucoptera


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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely 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
The European population is estimated at 1,500,000-4,260,000 pairs, which equates to 3,000,000-8,510,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms approximately 10% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 30,000,000-85,100,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification
This species has undergone a large and statistically significant decrease over the last 40 years in North America (-67.8% decline over 40 years, equating to a -24.7% decline per decade; data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007). The European population size is estimated to be fluctuating (BirdLife International 2015).


This species occupies dense conifer forests and plantations, mainly larch and larch-pine (Larix-Pinus) forests. It is found predominantly with Siberian pine (Pinus sibirica) in central Siberia and also uses fir (Abies) and spruce (Picea), and occasionally resorts to deciduous trees in absence of preferred conifers. In eastern Russia it is mostly found in larches and mainly in spruce and in north-west Russia and Scandinavia mostly in spruce (Clement 2016). The breeding season is from February to mid-May in years of a good seed crop of pine and spruce, but in poor crop years it is delayed to from June to August (Snow and Perrins 1998). It breeds from January to August in North America with timing largely determined by availability of seed crop (Clement 2016). The nest is constructed mostly of conifer twigs, plant stalks, grass stems, lichens, moss, plant fibres and down, animal hair or fur and feathers. It is set 2–20 m above ground against the trunk of a conifer, typically spruce. On occasion it is placed at the end of a branch. Clutches are three to four eggs. The diet consists mainly of conifer seeds, buds, berries and shoots, chiefly of larch and spruce but it also takes a range of invertebrates and larvae (Clement 2016). The species is resident and dispersive but also irruptive in years of poor seed crops (Snow and Perrins 1998).


There are not thought to be any current significant threats to this species.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II.

Conservation Actions Proposed
No conservation measures are currently needed for this species within its European range.


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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Loxia leucoptera. Downloaded from on 04/12/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 04/12/2023.