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Bird name:

Common Redpoll

Acanthis flammea




Finches (Fringillidae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Forests, coniferous

Breeding Type:


Egg Colour:

Greenish white to pale blue, spotted with purple at large end.

Number of Eggs:

2 - 7

Incubation Days:

10 - 14

Egg Incubator:


Nest Material:

Cup nest made of fine twigs, rootlets and grasses; may use feathers or hair to line the nest.

Nest Location:

In a coniferous tree, sometimes a shrub.




Common Redpoll: Small finch, brown-streaked grey upperparts, bright rose-pink breast, boldly streaked flanks and undertail coverts. Red cap and black chin. Bill is orange-yellow with fine black tip. Wings are dark with two narrow white bars; tail is black and notched. Black legs, feet. Rump usually streaked. Female plumage like male but with little or no red on breast. Immatures lack red on breast and have more brown on flanks. Birds from western Europe have more tawny-brown in plumage than birds from northeastern Europe.

Range and Habitat

Common Redpoll: Migrant visitor and winter visitor to the UK. Can be seen during autumn and winter monthsm, especially along the east coasts of Scotland and England. Can be seen in mixed forest and willow or birch scrub areas; it often forages for seeds and insects in the trees.

Breeding and Nesting

Common Redpoll: Breeds in boreal coniferous forest and scrub. Female builds nest 1 or 2 metres above ground in a small tree or shrub, often spruce or willow. Nest is an open cup of twigs, rootlets and grasses, well lined with feathers or hair. Both parents care for young. Second brood not uncommon.

Foraging and Feeding

Common Redpoll: Feeds on very small seeds, especially those from birch, willow, and alder trees. Also eats other seeds, grains, buds, weeds, grasses. Eats some insects in summer; feeds insects, spiders and other small invertebrates to young.

Readily Eats

Sunflower Seed, Commercial Mixed Bird Seed


Common Redpoll: During breeding season sings from perches or in flight. Song comprises single or repeated calls in short combinations: "chit-chit-chit-chit." Call is a plaintive, nasal, drawn-out whistle; rising in pitch, "swee-ee-eet."

Similar Species

Common Redpoll: The Linnet has a shorter tail, a buff, rather than rufous, breast. The Twite has a shorter bill, lacks the rufous crest of the Redpoll, and has a more starkly white breast and underparts. Lesser Redpoll is slightly smaller, shows less white in the rump and wing edges, and is more buff coloured.

Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
The area on top of the head of the bird.
The area of the face just below the bill.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX