Loxia percna   (Bent)


 
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Newfoundland Crossbill
(Loxia percna)

 
syn. Loxia curvirostra percna (Bent), Loxia curvirostra pusilla (Gloger), Loxia pusilla (Gloger)

 
distribution:

Canada: Newfoundland

 
local name:

Large Spruce Bird (English - Newfoundland)
Spruce Mope (English - Newfoundland)
Spruce Bird (English - Newfoundland)

 
size: (?)

extinction date: (?)

 
Until recently the Newfoundland Crossbill was treated as a subspecies of the Common Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), but it is now considered as a distinct species.

The bird was larger and had a more dull colouration than the other crossbill forms of North America, it also had a stouter beak.

Like all crossbill species, also the Newfoundland Crossbill was highly specialised to conifer seeds. It fed primarily on the seeds of the Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) and the Black Spruce (Picea mariana), occasionally also on the seeds of other conifer species.

The bird bred exclusively on the island of Newfoundland, but spent the winter on the North American continent, where overwintering birds were found in Ontario / Canada as well as in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland and Viginia / USA.

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The reasons for the extinction of this endemic island species lie in the heavy deforestation of large areas of former crossbill habitat and, on the other hand, in the American Red Squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), that were introduced to the island in the year 1963, and which competed with the birds for the same food and finally displaced the birds.

 
left:

Newfoundland Crossbill (Loxia percna)


Depiction from 'A. J. van Rossem: Notes on some Types of North American Birds. Transactions of the San Diego Society of Natural History. 7: 349-361. 1931-1934'

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

 
References:

- H. Douglass Pratt: Revisiting Species and Subspecies of Island Birds for a Better Assessment of Biodiversity. (Avian Subspecies. Ornithological Monographs No. 67: 79-89. 2010)