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COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Red Crossbill (Percna) in Canada

Existing Protection or Other Status

International Agreements

Red Crossbill percna subspecies, as a taxon of the family Fringillidae, is protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act of 1994. As such, it is illegal to kill a Red Crossbill or destroy its nest without a permit.

 

Federal Laws

Red Crossbill percna subspecies is protected by the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the National Parks Act in national parks and historic sites.  

Provincial Endangered Species Act

The Red Crossbill is not currently listed in Newfoundland and Labrador.

U.S. Endangered Species Act

Red Crossbill is not listed or proposed for listing in the United States (US Fish & Wildlife Service 2003).

IUCN Red Book

Red Crossbill is not listed. Other crossbills that are listed are the Scottish Crossbill (L. scotica; endangered status with low population estimates and a continued population decline) and the Hispaniolan Crossbill (L. megaplaga, data deficient; IUCN 2002).

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

Red Crossbill is not listed (CITES 2003).

Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre

The Red Crossbill is given the global heritage status rank of 5 (demonstrably widespread, abundant, and secure) by NatureServe (2002). National heritage status ranks for the United States and Canada are both also 5. Multiple state and provincial ranks are given (for the different subspecies or types across North America). 

NatureServe (2002) gives the Red Crossbill the rank S2S3 for Newfoundland (the two ranks indicate uncertainty as to whether the exact status is S2 or S3). A rank of S2 means the species is “imperilled in the subnation because of rarity or because of some factor(s) making it very vulnerable to extirpation from the nation or subnation. Typically 6 to 20 occurrences or few remaining individuals (1000 to 3000).” A rank of S3 means the species is “vulnerable in the subnation either because it is rare and uncommon, or found only in a restricted range (even if abundant at some locations), or because of other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation. Typically 21 to 100 occurrences or between 3 000 and 10 000 individuals.” These assessments for Red Crossbill percna subspecies, were based primarily on number of occurrences rather than number of individuals (K. Bredin, pers. comm., 2003).

 

Protected Areas

The total area of Newfoundland (including offshore islands, excluding Labrador) that is protected either provincially or federally is 8692.18 km2 (Ryan 2003). Some of this protected area may provide adequate habitat for Red Crossbills. Gros Morne and Terra Nova National Parks encompass areas of productive conifers. However, Red Squirrel densities are very high in Black Spruce stands in Terra Nova National Park (Wren 2001) and could severely restrict cone availability for Red Crossbills. Furthermore, the forests in Gros Morne are predominately Balsam Fir that do not always provide a reliable year-round source of conifer seeds for Red Crossbills. The Little Grand Lake Provisional Reserve protects the endangered Newfoundland Marten, and thus, good habitat for Red Crossbills, as Newfoundland Martens are also dependent on mature conifer forests, but this is also generally Balsam Fir forest. The Bay du Nord, Avalon, and Middle Ridge Reserves offer less-favourable crossbill habitat, because they all encompass barrens habitat where caribou are located. Nevertheless, these reserves do have conifer forests including Black Spruce in river valleys that are more extensive in the Bay du Nord and Middle Ridge Reserves than in the Avalon Reserve.