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Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea


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Common Redpoll, adult male
credit: Cephas/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Fringillidae, Finches view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has heavily streaked gray-brown upperparts, the wings with two white wing bars and white edges to flight feathers. Head is streaked gray with a red forecrown ("poll") and black face. Underparts are whitish overall, but heavily streaked on flanks. Breeding male has breast and flanks flushed pinkish red; this character is usually lost in winter although flanks are often flushed buff. ADULT FEMALE Similar to seasonal male, but always lacks red flush on breast. JUVENILE Buffy brown, heavily streaked and lacks adult's red forecrown (acquired by fall).

Dimensions Length: 5-5 1/2" (13-14 cm)

Habitat Common breeder in northern forests; present year-round in parts of range, but northern breeders move south in fall and winter range extends to northern U.S.

Observation Tips Locate flocks by call.

Range New England, Western Canada, Alaska, Great Lakes, Southeast, Rocky Mountains, Northwest, Eastern Canada, Plains, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest

Voice Song comprises rattling twitters and vibrating trills; call is a rattling ji'ji'jiÖ.

Discussion Compact, well-marked little finch. Pointed bill has curved culmen (Hoary's bill is stubby and culmen is straight). Feeds mainly on seeds, especially in winter, notably those of alder and birch. Forms roving flocks outside breeding season. Sexes are dissimilar.