Common Redpoll

Acanthis flammea




Fringilline & Cardueline Finches (Fringillidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Green or blue green with purple or red brown spots

Number of Eggs:

4 - 7

Incubation Days:

10 - 11

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

Generally hidden in dense low shrubs, occasionally in crevices in rocks or rocky outcroppings.

Nest Material:

Moss, feathers, plant material, and animal fur., Lined with twigs and grass.





Common Redpoll: Small finch with brown-streaked gray upperparts, bright rose-pink breast, and boldly streaked flanks and undertail coverts. Cap is red and chin is black. Bill is olive-brown with fine black tip. Wings are dark with two narrow white bars; tail is black and notched. Female is similar but lacks red on breast. Juvenile is browner than female, more extensively streaked, and may show faint red cap.

Range and Habitat

Common Redpoll: Breeds from Alaska and northern Quebec, south to British Columbia, Newfoundland, and Magdalen Islands. Spends winters irregularly south to California, Oklahoma, and the Carolinas; also found in Eurasia. Inhabits open subarctic areas, largely coniferous forests and scrub. Winters on brushy pastures, open thickets, and weedy fields.

Breeding and Nesting

Common Redpoll: Four to seven green or blue green eggs, with purple or red brown spots concentrated at larger end, are laid in a nest made of moss, feathers, plant material, and animal fur lined with twigs and grass, and hidden in dense low shrubs or rock crevices. Incubation ranges from 10 to 11 days and is carried out by the female. Young stay in nest 9 to14 days and are fed mostly by the female; have one or two broods per year.

Foraging and Feeding

Common Redpoll: Eats seeds and insects; forages chickadee-like, clinging to branch tips and weed tops for seeds, mainly from birches, alders, willows, and weeds. Also forages on the ground; reported to enter holes in snow to find food when vegetation is covered.

Readily Eats

Nyjer, Shelled Sunflower


Common Redpole: 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: Hoary Redpoll is paler and has smaller bill and faint streaks on rump, sides, and flanks.

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.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X