Wildlife in Italy: Cruises Loxia curvirostra Linnaeus, 1758

Wildlife in Italy: Cruises Loxia curvirostra Linnaeus, 1758

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Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Birds
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Finches
Kind: Loxia
Species: L. curvirostra Linnaeus, 1758

Often sedentary - but sometimes also invasive migratory - and winter visitor, the Cruises are distributed, with the nominal subspecies, in most of Eurasia. Various subspecies inhabit southern Europe, from L. c. Balearic, in the islands of the same name and in central-southern Spain, L. poliogyna, originally from North Africa, which also frequents southern Italy and Sicily. Other subspecies inhabit Corsica, the Balkans, Japan, Africa and North America.

Cruises - Loxia curvirostra (photo

Cruises - Loxia curvirostra (photo Didier Descouens)

Common cruises - Loxia curvirostra
(Loxia curvirostra. With public domain license via Wikimedia Commons -

Distinctive characters

Length: 17 cm

The coloring of the adult male, brick red with black wings and tail, is gradually achieved starting from the juvenile livery, dark streaked brunette. The intermediate stages are thus characterized by the presence of irregular orange or pink patches. The female is brown-gray, with brown-black wings and tail and greenish yellow rump. The crossed apex beak makes the species a short distance unmistakable.


It is based almost exclusively on the seeds of conifers. It can hatch all year round. The winter and spring months however are preferred. The nest is built by the female with feathers, heather, straw and broom as well as animal hair in the upper field of spruce. The female lays three to five white eggs with brown spots which are kept warm for 14 to 16 days. During this period the male procures food for the female. After about two weeks the young birds become volcuri and from this moment on they are fed with food by their parents. Only now in the males do the tips of the cross-shaped beak form.



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