Type 5 Crossbill

Type 5 Crossbill

Geographic Range. To date, Type 5 crossbills are only known from western North America. There, it is primarily a bird of higher elevation areas. There are no records for breeding of this form south of Utah and Colorado, and the extent of breeding of this form in California is not known. This is probably the predominant crossbill in many areas of the Northwest, such as Yellowstone Park. It is also common on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington, and may be common in northern lodgepole pine forests in Alberta.

Ecology and Habitat. This form is primarily a bird of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta). In the Rocky Mountains, this form is found generally in the higher-elevation lodgepole pine forests, whereas Type 2 birds are more commonly found in lower-elevation ponderosa pine forests. Type 5 birds are also strongly associated with high-elevation Englemann spruce (Picea englemanni).

Natural History Notes. Perhaps the most interesting natural historical feature of Type 5 crossbills is that they have not been recorded outside of the Rocky Mountain west. Although they are nearly identical to Type 2 crossbills in morphology, and overlap extensivley with that form in ecology, they do have a unique set of habitat preferences.

Vocalizations. Type 5 flight calls are unique among North American crossbills in having two separate elements. Type 3 flight calls are similar, but the two downward elements are connected by an intervening upward-rising component. the alarm calls of Type 5 birds are similar to those given by Type 7 birds in that they have extensive overlying harmonics.