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The Small American Crosbill in California

J. Grinnell
Publication Information
3 (May-June)
From Field and Study

The small American Crossbill in California

This museum has recently acquired a California-taken crossbill, which is apparently identical with the eastern form--Loxia curvirostra minor. It is a ♂ adult (full red plumage, in color exactly like the average of eastern examples) ; no. 7199, Univ. Calif. Mus. Vert. Zool. ; Nicasio, Marin Co., Calif. ; Feb. 21, 1909; collected by Louise Kellogg. Measurements: wing, 79.7; tail, 51.7; tarsus, 14.8; culmen, 13.3; bill from nostril, 11.9; depth of bill, 7.9.

This is the first example I ever saw of this form from the State, the usual race being L. c. bendirei (or if this be not recognized, L. c. stricklandi). A specimen of the latter secured in the same locality, but at another time, has kindly been sent to me by Joseph Mailliard. It is a ♂ adult (full red plumage, but of lighter, pinker hue than in eastern birds) ; no. 5652, Coll. J. &J. W. Mailliard; Nicasio, Marin Co., Calif.; March 5, 1895. Measurements: wing, 96.2; tail, 63.8; tarsus, 16.6; culmen, 17. 8; bill from nostril, 15.8; depth of bill, 10.1.

The great discrepancy in size between the two forms, as shown by the above measurements, is not bridged over by variations in the material at hand. One other example from California referable to minor has just come to light (no. 5654, ♂ , Coll. J. & J. W. M.). This is very like no. 7199, tho a trifle larger. It seems probable that the small form is merely an irregular winter visitant to the State, in the same role as east of the Rockies. Certainly the resident and breeding bird is always the larger race, judging from many summer birds from various parts of the transition and boreal zones in California.


University of California, Berkeley, California.

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