Monday, 9 November 2015

Day 360 - Resplendant Redpolls

Lesser Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret)
Hey everyone, today's Day 360 and as there's only 5 days to go, I thought I would cover a special species. As I don't come across new birds  very often, I thought I would cover one I saw recently that was a lifer. As you know, a while ago I went bird ringing with the East Dales Ringing Group and saw quite some migrating birds. This particular one is called the Redpoll and they are really cute little birds. As this was the first time I'd seen one it was really special to see them up close, I loved holding and releasing them.

So, here are the facts:

  • There are several species of Redpoll so straight away I'll say that this is the Lesser Redpoll.
Showing off its little black 'goatee beard'
  • They are resident all over the UK apart from right in the centre of England where they only Winter.
  • In the whole of the UK, there are only 220,000 breeding pairs. Well I say only, that sounds quite a lot.
  • Well, despite these facts, they are a RED STATUS. The BTO says this is because there has been a recent breeding decline.
  • This breeding decline was very recent as in the last assessment they were an Orange Status and the time before, a Green.
Beautiful to get close to
  • They are mainly found in woodland habitats, especially coniferous and birch woods but might be lucky and see them in towns or arable areas though not as often. 
  • They feed on small seeds. Especially those of Birch and Alder Trees. As well as plants like Willowherb and Sorrel. They also visit bird feeders especially for nyjer seeds!
  • They breed first when they are 1 year old and usually live for only 2 years. The oldest ever bird was 6 years and 26 days.
  • They are 12 cm long and their wingspan is 22 cm. Both Males and Females weigh 11g. 
And very calm as well.
  • Going back to where I saw this post, when I was out bird ringing, their ring size is the second smallest 'A'.
  • One of the things I am still amazed by is how tiny some birds are and even more so how tiny their eggs are. A Lesser Redpoll egg weighs only 1.4g!
  • Some Redpolls come here from colder parts of Europe but our resident birds may move around in cold winters too, they may head from the North to the South of England and if its really bad they may hop across to warmer parts of Europe.

Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. Beautiful birds, you are lucky to get so close!

  2. Stunning birds and so hard to see much of the year, I think I've had 3 ever on my patch (seen by me others may have seen more), to get so close must have been fantastic.

  3. Thanks Simon, Ashley, it was a big treat to see the Redpolls for the first time up so close.