Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Croxton Heath for Crossbills......again

With such a vast patch to find and watch birds in, I must apologise for once again concentrating my efforts on a recently much visited location in order to observe Crossbills.  I do find this species Breckland speciality a fantastic bird to watch.
At dawn, I became aware of overflying Crossbills over the heath, most were heard, but some were seen quite high presumably heading to their feeding sites.
Crossbill (male) on Croxton Heath 08/01/14
I made my way to a location I have found very reliable for Crossbills, at least while there is water along the track where they come to drink.  Initially, small numbers of Crossbills visited a lone tree within a forest clearing, however, during my stay, a single flock of 30+ congregated.
Throughout my stay, Crossbills were coming and going all the time. For most of the time the birds spent their time perched high in the lone tree from where after a time, birds nervously dropped down through the branches before tentatively flying to the ground to drink from puddles.
Behaviour seen included several birds preening and males in song.  Whilst in the treetops, some Crossbills demonstrated their acrobatic skills by hanging upside down from branches to reach for buds and seeds to feed upon.
Crossbill (female) Croxton Heath 08/01/14
Although not always apparent when in flight, when perched the differences between the sexes of Crossbills are clear to see.  Male Crossbills are stunning brick-red birds with dark wings and if seen from behind, the birds have a beautiful crimson rump.  Females are duller birds, sometimes appearing brownish or mousey-grey birds, however, most have a greenish tone with a yellowish-green rump.
Juvenile Crossbills appear brownish-grey but are clearly aged by their heavily streaked appearance.
Although found throughout Britain, the Breckland area probably supports the greatest numbers of this fantastic bird, a species which is always sought after by visiting birders from other parts of the country.


  1. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

  2. You are more than welcome. Thank you for reading my blog.