Saturday, 26 March 2016

Bird of the week - Lesser redpoll

Redpolls have been much in evidence in the garden in the past couple of weeks and the males are in their finest breeding plumage.

Less well coloured birds may be females or first year males.

I have been collecting data on birds in the garden for BTO Garden BirdWatch since 1995 and I see from the records that the first time I saw a redpoll here was in 2011.  Interestingly the BTO still list it as a scarcer species so no long term data are available.  I did find this BTO plot  showing a huge increase in numbers in gardens in recent years.

Despite this the lesser redpoll is on the Red List and is much scarcer than it was years ago.
There are no winter distribution maps but the summer breeding range is shown here.

You can read about identification of lesser redpolls, common (mealy) redpolls, and arctic redpolls here.  Read more about lesser redpolls here.  Listen to Sir David Attenborough's BBC Radio 4 Tweet of the Day on the lesser redpoll here.


  1. Beautiful pictures and so clear. Watched lessees down at low Barnes. Still get very excited when I see them

  2. The scientific name is confused/ing! They seem to be Acanthis now: paper in Bird Study about the genetics. Yes Wikipaedia:

    1. Oops. I forgot to include the scientific name. As you say Phil, it is Acanthis cabaret. The BTO list it as such but the RSPB hasn't caught up and still names it Carduelis cabaret.

  3. I'm pleased to hear the BTO is Acanthis - I wondered if the British group hadn't gone along with the World group! I think the BTO has just not updated its .pdf. I suppose it only matters as it causes confusion - certainly did in me!