Our Beautiful World

Redpolls, Carduelis
Common Redpoll, Carduelis flammea (Acanthis flammea)  
Lesser Redpoll, Carduelis cabaret
Arctic Hoary Redpoll, Carduelis hornemanni

© http://www.ecosystema.ru/

Arctic Redpoll, Carduelis hornemanni
© www.ecosystema.ru/

The Redpolls are a group of small passerine birds in the finch family Fringillidae which have characteristic red markings on
their heads. They were formerly placed into the genus Acanthis together with the linnets and the twite, but their closest relatives are actually the crossbills, that are placed in the genus Loxia . The latter genus could be merged with Carduelis in a single
genus, for which the name Loxia would then have priority. But this would imply to change the name of a large number of
species, and as their adaptations and biogeography are evolutionarily quite peculiar, it would be better to reinstate Acanthis
instead, including only the redpolls.

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.

The three species are:
The Arctic Redpoll, Carduelis hornemanni (subspecies C. h. hornemanni and C. h. exilipes)
The Common Redpoll, Carduelis flammea (subspecies C. f. islandica and C. f. rostrata)
The Lesser Redpoll, Carduelis cabaret

See also Goldfinch

Arctic Redpoll, Carduelis hornemanni
UK: Arctic Hoary Redpoll DK: Hvidsisken FI: Tundraurpiainen FR: Sizerin blanchâtre
NL: Witstuitbarmsijs IT: Organetto artico HU: Szürke zsezse Polarbirkenzeisig
PL: Czeczotka tundrowa SK: Stehlík belavý CZ: Cecetky belavé ES: Pardillo de Hornemann
SE: Snösiska EE: hele-urvalind
Norw: Polarsisik

© www.ecosystema.ru/

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 4-7 eggs in a nest in a tree or, in the case of Arctic Redpoll, a large bush.
They can form large flocks outside the breeding season, sometimes mixed with other finches.


Fledgling Arctic redpoll, Carduelis hornemanni,
Volchya Valley.


Fledgling Arctic redpoll, Carduelis hornemanni,
Volchya Valley.

The redpoll, which is not - as the norwegian name indicates: Grey Redpoll - is not as grey, at least not the male, and neither the eggs.
They often form flocks during winter, and you may see them hanging donw from the tip of thin birch-branches.

Arctic Redpoll, Carduelis hornemanni
Photo: © Josef Hlasek

Lesser Redpoll, Carduelis cabaret

Lille gråsisken, Carduelis cabaret. D. 25.05.2005 Photo: © Svend Ove Jensen
Lesser Redpoll

Lille gråsisken, Carduelis cabaret. Lystbådehavnen i Sønderborg, d. 22.05.2001 Photo: © Svend Ove Jensen

Lesser Redpoll, Carduelis cabaret
Brownish streaky (often very bright) on top of tail, strong streaked brown back, streaked light brown breast and flanks, black mask around the bill, red on top of a brown head, and a white bar on the wings.
The Lesser Redpoll breeds in the British Isles, around the Alps and the North Sea from northern France to south-east Norway.
It has spread in the last 50 or so years into southern Scandinavia and this has led to its recognition as a species in its own right.

Common Redpoll, Carduelis flammea
Greyish brown strong streaked breast, red and light streaked breast, streaked flanks, light bellow, red on top of head, black mask around nose, white bar on wings. All this means it is very like the other Redpolls.

Previously, The Lesser Redpoll was treated as a subspecies of Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea but this expansion brought
the two subspecies cabaret and flammea into direct contact. When this happened, it was observed that the two subspecies did not
hybridise and the subspecies were split.
The reference for this is "The taxonomic status of Lesser Redpoll" 2001 by Alan Knox et al. in British Birds, 94: 260-267.

Gråsisik, Common redpoll, Acanthis flammea
© www.ecosystema.ru/

All redpolls are northern breeding woodland species, associated with birch trees. They are small dumpy 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
Text above from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Compared with Common Redpoll, Lesser Redpoll is significantly smaller and has richer plumage tones. Vocalizations are also slightly different. How it is compared to the other Carduelis-birds I don't know. Why don't I know? Well, just look below:

Members of the family Carduelis:
Det finnes cirka 159 arter i denne gren. Her er en liste med bare 100 av dem: C. ambigua · C. ambigua ambigua · C. atrata ·
C. atriceps (Black-Capped Siskin) · C. barbata · C. cabaret · C. cannabina · C. cannabina autochthona · C. cannabina bella ·
C. cannabina cannabina (Linnet) · C. cannabina meadewaldoi · C. cannabina x · C. C. (Eurasian Goldfinch) · C. C. balcanica ·
C. C. bermudiana · C. C. britannica · C. C. brittanica · C. C. caniceps · C. C. C. (Eurasian Goldfinch) · C. C. columbiana ·
C. C. elegan · C. C. major · C. C. mediteranea · C. C. melanitica · C. C. niediecki · C. C. paropanisi · C. C. parva ·
C. C. propeparva · C. C. schiebeli · C. C. ssp · C. C. subulata · C. C. tschusii · C. carduellis · C. carduellis balcanica ·
C. carduellis rumaniae · C. chloris · C. chloris aurantiiventris · C. chloris chlorotica · C. chloris harrisoni · C. chloris turkestanika ·
C. chloris vanmarli · C. chloris voousi · C. chloris x · C. citrinella · C. citrinella corsicana · C. citrinelloides · C. communis communis ·
C. corsicana · C. crassirostris · C. crassirostris amadoni · C. crassirostris crassirostris · C. cucullata (Red Siskin) · C. deichleri ·
C. dominicensis · C. flammea (Common Redpoll) · C. flammea cabaret (Common Redpoll) · C. flammea carbaret ·
C. flammea exilipes · C. flammea flammea · C. flammea holboellii · C. flammea hornemanni · C. flammea linaria · C. flammea rostrata ·
C. flavirostris · C. flavirostris flavirostris · C. flavirostris miniakensis · C. flavirostris pipilans · C. flavirostris rufostrigata ·
C. hornemanni (Hoary Redpoll) · C. hornemanni exilipes · C. hornemanni hornemanni (Hoary Redpoll) · C. innominatus ·
C. johannis (Warsangli Linnet) · C. lawrencei (Lawrence's Goldfinch) · C. lawrencii · C. linaria · C. magellanica · C. magellanica alleni ·
C. magellanica boliviana · C. magellanica capitalis · C. magellanica hoyi · C. magellanica icterica · C. magellanica ictericus ·
C. magellanica magellanica · C. magellanica paula · C. magellanica peruana · C. magellanica ssp · C. magellanica tucumana ·
C. magellanica urubambensis · C. magellanicus capitalis · C. magellanicus ictericus · C. monguilloti (Vietnam Greenfinch) ·
C. nipalensis · C. notata · C. notata forreri · C. notata notata · C. notata notatus · C. notata oleacea · C. notata torreri ·
C. olivacea
from: http://zipcodezoo.com (not valid as per Sept. 2010)

Carduelis flammea
© Arthur Grosset



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