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

Lesser Redpoll

Acanthis cabaret

The Lesser Redpoll, Acanthis cabaret, is a diminutive member of the finch family, Fringillidae. It is recognized as the smallest, most streaked, and brownest of its kin. The male is adorned with a striking red forehead and a black chin, with a blush of pink gracing his breast and face during the breeding season. The female is similar but lacks the pink hues and has less pronounced streaking on the flanks. Juveniles present with paler heads and no red on the forehead.

Identification Tips

To identify the Lesser Redpoll, look for its short, conical bill with a pale yellow base and dark tip. The adult male's brown upperparts with darker streaks, buff flanks with dark streaks, and whitish belly and undertail-coverts are distinctive. Two pale bars on the wing are also notable. The female and juvenile are less vividly marked but share the same general patterns.


This species thrives in open woodlands, scrublands, farmlands, and dunes. Its recent range expansion has been facilitated by an increase in conifer plantations.


Originally confined to Ireland, Great Britain, and the Alps, the Lesser Redpoll has expanded its range across central and northern Europe. It is a breeding bird in Great Britain and Ireland and has spread to parts of mainland Europe. Some populations migrate short distances in winter, with Alpine birds descending to lower elevations. It has also been introduced to New Zealand, where it has become widely established.


The Lesser Redpoll is a sociable bird, often seen foraging in flocks. It mainly feeds in trees but will also forage on the ground in winter. The diet consists predominantly of small seeds, with the addition of fruit, buds, and invertebrates. Breeding pairs form in late winter, and nests are often built close together in loose colonies.

Song & Calls

The most common call is a harsh, metallic "chuch-uch-uch-uch," while its song is a trilling combination of the flight call with a buzzing rattle, often performed during an undulating song-flight.


The female constructs a cup-shaped nest in a shrub or tree, lined with feathers, wool, and hair. The clutch consists of two to seven pale bluish or greenish eggs, adorned with reddish or brownish markings. Incubation lasts 12-15 days, with the female being fed by the male. Both parents feed the fledglings, which leave the nest after 9-15 days.

Similar Species

The Mealy Redpoll is similar in appearance but is larger, paler, and has whiter underparts with more buff upperparts and a pale, streaked rump.

Diet and Feeding

Lesser Redpolls primarily consume small seeds from birch, alder, and grasses. Their diet is supplemented with fruit, buds, and invertebrates, particularly when seeds are scarce.

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Lesser Redpoll is not specified in the provided content. However, it is important to monitor any species for potential threats and changes in population dynamics.

Lesser Redpoll Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Lesser Redpolls on Birda


More Finches, Euphonias

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

Common Redpoll

Acanthis flammea
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