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A photo of a Common Redpoll (Acanthis flammea), male
Common Redpoll, Male

Common Redpoll

Acanthis flammea

The Common Redpoll, a small finch of the family Fringillidae, presents a charming visage with its brownish-grey plumage adorned with dark streaks. A distinctive bright red patch graces its forehead, and it sports a black bib. The wings are marked by two pale stripes, and males may exhibit a blush of red on their breasts. This bird is smaller and more heavily streaked than its relative, the Arctic Redpoll, with adults ranging from 11.5 to 14 centimeters in length and weighing between 12 and 16 grams. Its wingspan stretches from 19 to 22 centimeters.

Identification Tips

When identifying the Common Redpoll, look for the red forehead patch, black bib, and wing stripes. The rump is streaked, and a broad dark brown streak can be seen across the vent. The legs are brown, the bill is yellowish with a dark tip, and the irises are dark brown.


The Common Redpoll is typically found in the boreal forests, where pines, spruces, and larches dominate the landscape.


This species breeds across the northern regions of North America and the Palearctic. It is a partial migrant, heading southward in late autumn and returning northward in the spring.


These birds are known for their remarkable resistance to cold temperatures. Their movements in winter are primarily driven by the availability of food rather than temperature. They feed mainly on seeds, with a preference for birch and alder seeds during the winter months.

Song & Calls

The calls of the Common Redpoll are a delightful chorus when a flock is feeding, a sound that can be heard across the landscapes of Iowa, USA, and beyond.


The Common Redpoll constructs its nest low in a tree or bush, with a layered structure consisting of twigs, root fibers, juniper bark, lichens, down, willow buds, and reindeer hair. The female lays three to seven speckled eggs, incubates them for about 11 days, and the young fledge approximately 13 days after hatching.

Similar Species

The Common Redpoll is larger and paler than the Lesser Redpoll and can be distinguished from the similarly sized Arctic Redpoll by the males' darker coloration. Females of both species are nearly identical in appearance.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Common Redpoll is primarily seed-based, with a particular fondness for the seeds of birch and alder trees during the winter season.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Common Redpoll as Least Concern, indicating that the species does not currently face a significant risk of extinction.

Common Redpoll Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Common Redpolls on Birda


More Finches, Euphonias

A photo of a Lesser Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret) , male

Lesser Redpoll

Acanthis cabaret
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