|Common redpoll in Oulu, Finland|
|Genus:||Acanthis (but see article text)
The redpolls are a group of small passerine birds in the finch family Fringillidae which have characteristic red markings on their heads. They are placed in the genus Acanthis. There are several different very closely related forms of redpolls which could be considered as anything from one to five species. Recent studies tend to support three species, but this is certainly not definite.
All redpolls are northern breeding woodland species, associated with birch trees. They are small birds, brown or grey-brown above and with a red forehead patch. The adult male's breast is washed in red, but in females and young birds the buff breast and white belly are streaked with brown. The bill is small and yellow. Some birds, particularly young ones, are difficult to assign to species.
They are primarily seed-eaters, and often feed acrobatically like a tit; their diet may include some insects in summer. They have a dry reeling song and a metallic call. They lay four to seven eggs in a nest in a tree or, in the case of the Arctic redpoll, a large bush. They can form large flocks outside the breeding season, sometimes mixed with other finches.
The species are:
- Arctic redpoll (Acanthis hornemanni)
- A. h. hornemanni (Greenland Arctic redpoll)
- A. h. exilipes (hoary redpoll))
- Common redpoll (Acanthis flammea)
- A. f. flammea (mealy redpoll)
- A. f. islandica (Icelandic redpoll)
- A. f. rostrata (Greenland redpoll)
- Lesser redpoll (Acanthis cabaret)
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- Knox, A. G., and P. E. Lowther (2000). Hoary Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni). In The Birds of North America, No. 544 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
- Knox, A. G., and P. E. Lowther (2000). Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea). In The Birds of North America, No. 543 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
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