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GALLERIES > BIRDS > PASSERIFORMES > FRINGILLIDAE > HISPANIOLAN CROSSBILL [Loxia megaplaga]

Hispaniolan Crossbill Picture
 
 

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SPECIES INFO

The Hispaniolan Crossbill Loxia megaplaga is a crossbill which is endemic to the island of Hispaniola in the West Indies and therefore only found in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

It was formerly regarded as conspecific with the Two-barred Crossbill Loxia leucoptera, from which it is now assumed it evolved.

There is general acceptance that the origin of the L. megaplaga can be traced to southern populations of L. leucoptera. These got stranded on the highest pine-forested mountains in Hispaniola (the highest in all the Caribbean islands) when the glaciers and the vast coniferous forests started receding northward after end of the last ice age as the Holocene epoch began, some 10,000 years ago. The distance that now separates both species is of thousands of kilometers (from the Caribbean to the northern U.S. and Canada), making the story of the Hispaniolan crossbill an interesting one from an ecological and environmental point of view (there is also a similar case regarding Zonotrichia capensis, a sparrow which is absent from all Caribbean islands except Hispaniola, and which is found from southern Mexico down to Cape Horn).

The bird feeds almost exclusively on the seeds of Pinus occidentalis cones.





                                     



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