Sunday, March 11, 2012

Common Redpoll

Until a friend recently asked, I had not given much thought about identifying Common Redpolls from other finches. In Minnesota I suspect the most similar species would be House or Purple finches. See my 2010 post for photos of House and Purple finches. This photo is one of the few Common Redpolls that visited our feeders this winter. The sex is not identifiable in this plumage.

A male Purple Finch does not have fine brown streaks on its sides and the red color is not restricted to the crown. Should be no problem. A female Purple Finch lacks the red crown, and is a bigger bird with a much larger bill.

Male House Finches also do not have the restricted crown patch and both sexes lack the white superciliary stripe. Because of its red breast, a second-year male Common Redpoll may superficially look like a male House Finch, but the redpoll's head is not uniformly red as in the House Finch.

Hope this helps.

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