They are specialist feeders generally found in and around coniferous forestry.
As their name suggests the tips of their bills are crossed, an adaption reflecting their major diet of conifer seeds, cones are wrenched off trees and held under their feet whilst the seeds are extracted when exposed by the leverage of the crossed bill. Other diet consists of buds, insects and invertebrates.
They are very active and acrobatic feeders flitting around the canopy in family groups, with such a dry diet they need to take on water on a regular basis and it is around favoured puddles or streams that some good opportunities for photography present themselves.
Crossbills are quite mobile and will seek out alternative forestry should the supply of cones get into short supply in their current area.