Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis cabaret)

Taken at Otmoor, Oxon., on February 19th 2012.
(1/250th sec at f13. © David Hastings)


L: 14 cm; WS: 23 cm

This tiny finch is streaky and brown with patches of red on its head. It is difficult to distinguish the sexes except during the breeding season, when the male has bright red on its breast. The redpoll complex is a headache for the birder. The small, dark Lesser Redpoll, found in the British Isles and central European mountains, the larger and paler Mealy Redpoll, which is a winter visitor to Britain, and the Greenland Redpoll, which is larger and darker, were regarded as subspecies for a long time. They are now recognised as separate species.

The Lesser Redpoll is a widespread breeding species in Scotland, northern and eastern England and Wales. It is less common in central, southern and south-west England, but can be found in these areas in winter.

Its breeding habitat is birch and coniferous forests.

The Lesser Redpoll is a Red list species, owing to population decline. There are about 220000 pairs in the UK.


04-May-2019 : Gigrin Farm, Powys (1)

05-May-2018 : Gilfach Farm, Powys (2)
05-May-2014 : Tregaron, Ceredigion (1)
05-May-2014 : Tregaron Bog, Ceredigion (1m,2f)
31-Mar-2013 : Otmoor, Oxon (2)
17-Feb-2013 : Otmoor, Oxon (3)
11-Mar-2012 : Otmoor, Oxon (3)
19-Feb-2012 : Otmoor, Oxon (4)
27-Nov-2011 : Slimbridge, Glos (1)