FIELD IDENTIFICATION: The Red Crossbill is a casual winter visitor to Wise County. Adult males have black wings and a short, notched tail (also black), with brick-red heads and bodies. Adult females are brown with olive green on the head and breast, and black wings and tail. Immature males have a more orange-red color. The crossed bill is diagnostic when visible, but it cannot always be seen, especially from a distance.
The similar House Finch is slightly smaller than Red Crossbills, and also is streakier than Red Crossbills. Also note the lack of markings (such as wing bars) on the crossbills' wings.
Field I.D. by Claire Curry
Field Observations: Seen by Mary & Claire Curry in Greenwood, Texas in December 2000 and again by Randy Masters between January 30, 2001 and February 15, 2001 at Eagle Mountain Lake, Texas. Randy was able to get a photo. See below.
Two male Red Crossbills on the left, a female crossbill in the middle, and male House Finch on the right.
Photo by Randy Masters, February 2001.