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Parrot or red crossbill? Photos from NW Poland, 29.01.2020

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Old Monday 10th February 2020, 17:49   #1
Ryszard
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Parrot or red crossbill? Photos from NW Poland, 29.01.2020

Hi

I have a request to help identify this bird

Regards, Ryszard
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Old Monday 10th February 2020, 18:46   #2
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I think it must be parrot with a bill that thick
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Old Monday 10th February 2020, 19:10   #3
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I think it must be parrot with a bill that thick
They are variable hence one of the reasons for debate over 'Scotbill' but this bird has that 'bull necked' appearance too.
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Old Tuesday 11th February 2020, 01:45   #4
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I was thinking, despite the apparent thickness of the bill, that the head looked rather small! Also the bill is a bit foreshortened (and blurred, too!), making shape assessment unsafe. So I'm going to err on the side of caution and go for Common Crossbill.
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Old Tuesday 11th February 2020, 10:41   #5
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They are variable hence one of the reasons for debate over 'Scotbill' but this bird has that 'bull necked' appearance too.
So for believers in that taxon, bill thickness goes: common <=Scottish <=parrot. From the pics I've seen, this is well to the right of that spectrum. Since "Scottish" isn't recorded from Poland that makes it parrot for me (don't personally believe in Scottish crossbill as a species but I think it an interesting phenomenon if really restricted to Scots pine: a bit like Scottish crested tit or British swallowtail butterfly)
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Old Tuesday 11th February 2020, 11:00   #6
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Do you by any chance have a sound recording of this bird? Wouldn't be too sure about it being a Parrot Crossbill from a blurred picture like that...
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Old Tuesday 11th February 2020, 11:42   #7
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So for believers in that taxon, bill thickness goes: common <=Scottish <=parrot. From the pics I've seen, this is well to the right of that spectrum. Since "Scottish" isn't recorded from Poland that makes it parrot for me (don't personally believe in Scottish crossbill as a species but I think it an interesting phenomenon if really restricted to Scots pine: a bit like Scottish crested tit or British swallowtail butterfly)

This is one of the problems, I'm not sure they are. Birds fitting the bill measurements which would usually be assigned to Scottish, have been recorderd as far South as Derbyshire I believe.

This bird as I said, does seem to be structurally more bulky than the usual Common I see on my patch in Russia.

Attached are two birds from Russia, one, tentatively assigned as Parrot which we found during the mass movement a few years ago, the others are in a Scots Pine, right outside our window. Even from this angle, structural differences are fairly obvious?

PS Never seen a Swallowtail on Scots Pine.........
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Old Tuesday 11th February 2020, 11:51   #8
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Is that Spruce in the OP Nutty?

The only way I can ID them roughly, is that the braches angle down to the ground and the fruits (?) are hanging rather than on top of a stem?

I know there's a thing about rolling the needles but I can't seem to see the difference when I've tried it.
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Old Tuesday 11th February 2020, 12:49   #9
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Do you by any chance have a sound recording of this bird? Wouldn't be too sure about it being a Parrot Crossbill from a blurred picture like that...
I agree that a degree of caution is best when the photos as are poor as these, but I can't see this being anything other than Parrot. It's got a beak like a macaw!
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Old Tuesday 11th February 2020, 14:18   #10
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Is that Spruce in the OP Nutty?
Yep, Norway Spruce Picea abies - which tends to count against Parrot Xbill, tho' not an absolute bar on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
The only way I can ID them roughly, is that the braches angle down to the ground and the fruits (?) are hanging rather than on top of a stem?

I know there's a thing about rolling the needles but I can't seem to see the difference when I've tried it.
That's more for distinguishing spruces from silver firs (though some spruces have flat needles too) - not relevant here, as crossbills don't go for silver fir cones (not ever, as far as I know). To tell spruces from pines:

*Needles single, fairly short (usually under 3 cm) = spruce
*Needles in pairs (or 3s or 5s), longer (usually over 4 cm) = pine

*Closed cones cylindrical, pendulous = spruce
*Closed cones conical (triangular: broad base narrowing to pointed tip) = pine
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Old Tuesday 11th February 2020, 14:35   #11
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unfortunately I don't have a voice recording. I only have these 2 poor quality photos
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Old Tuesday 11th February 2020, 21:49   #12
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The ratio of bill height at the base to length is closer to 1.5 than 1.1 which would point to Common Crossbill. They are also massive birds. But you can put it on clanga.com or whatever.
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Old Wednesday 12th February 2020, 07:21   #13
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The ratio of bill height at the base to length is closer to 1.5 than 1.1 which would point to Common Crossbill. They are also massive birds. But you can put it on clanga.com or whatever.
So you think structure is irrelevant?
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Old Wednesday 12th February 2020, 10:33   #14
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So you think structure is irrelevant?
Bill depth to length ratio is structure but he reckons its structure points more to Common than Parrot (and I'd tend to agree, tho' not sure the measurements can be made accurately from a pic of this quality)
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Old Wednesday 12th February 2020, 11:27   #15
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Bill depth to length ratio is structure but he reckons its structure points more to Common than Parrot (and I'd tend to agree, tho' not sure the measurements can be made accurately from a pic of this quality)
Well, hardly. It's two dimensions. It's like saying the Sydney Opera House is a building that is 150m x 125m. So is an Amazon warehouse.
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Old Wednesday 12th February 2020, 11:40   #16
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Bill depth to length ratio is structure but he reckons its structure points more to Common than Parrot (and I'd tend to agree, tho' not sure the measurements can be made accurately from a pic of this quality)
Being pedantic Nutty, you actually refer to 'bill structure'.

The OP is a bulky bird with a big head and thick neck IMO, more so than I'd expect from any Common?
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Old Wednesday 12th February 2020, 20:21   #17
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If by 'structure' you mean the head and neck thickness, then Ryszard's bird is for me fully in the range of Common Crossbills. They are bulky birds, too. It may be that birds in cold weather puff their feathers.

But I am not the expert in crossbills so directed Ryszard to the Polish website where at least one member of the Polish rarities commitee is a regular.
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Old Thursday 13th February 2020, 15:04   #18
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Thank you all for the answer.
Information about bird watching is posted on ornitho.pl. However, I think like you that the photo is too weak so I leave it as Loxia sp.
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Old Friday 14th February 2020, 19:16   #19
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To tell spruces from pines:

*Needles single, fairly short (usually under 3 cm) = spruce
*Needles in pairs (or 3s or 5s), longer (usually over 4 cm) = pine

*Closed cones cylindrical, pendulous = spruce
*Closed cones conical (triangular: broad base narrowing to pointed tip) = pine
except you have a lot of plantings of Weymouth pine Pinus strobus (there are in some areas in Northern Germany) the cones are rather more cylindrical, long and hanging in that species , but the needles make clear its a pine

In some other exotic pines thats similar, e.g. P. wallichiana

concerning the crossbill, I also think common
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Old Saturday 15th February 2020, 01:24   #20
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except you have a lot of plantings of Weymouth pine Pinus strobus (there are in some areas in Northern Germany) the cones are rather more cylindrical, long and hanging in that species , but the needles make clear its a pine

In some other exotic pines thats similar, e.g. P. wallichiana
Yep - though those would be of more interest to a Nutcracker than a Crossbill
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Old Saturday 15th February 2020, 16:55   #21
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Yep - though those would be of more interest to a Nutcracker than a Crossbill
agreed!
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