Common Redpoll
Acanthis flammea

– small passerine, smaller than House Sparrow
– diurnal migrant
– migrates in small to large, rather dense flocks
– very vocal
– uncertain taxonomic status, often treated as separate species:
Lesser Redpoll Acanthis cabaret and Mealy Redpoll Acanthis flammea


Common Redpoll Acanthis f. flammea
BIF2022, 13/12/2017, Konow, Germany, Roland Neumann
rather small and compact finch, strong undulating flight thus wing often folded, deeply forked, medium-length tail


Common Redpoll Acanthis f. flammea
BIF2023, 13/12/2017, Konow, Germany, Roland Neumann
chin and around base of bill black, red poll, fairly short yellow bill, pinkish wash of breast and upper belly indicate an AD M (lower bird), basic colouration lighter than of ssp. cabaret


Common Redpoll Acanthis f. flammea
BIF2024, 13/12/2017, Konow, Germany, Roland Neumann
depending on angle more or less less stocky, tail seems to be longer and less forked when fanned out


Common Redpoll Acanthis f. flammea with Acanthis flammea cabaret
BIF2038, 13/12/2017, Konow, Germany, Roland Neumann
right-hand bird ssp. cabaret, note darker colouration and smaller size, the bird lowest to the right (out of focus) is very pale and unmarked and might be an AD M Arctic Redpoll


Common Redpoll Acanthis f. flammea
BIF2025, 13/12/2017, Konow, Germany, Roland Neumann
grey-brown back and to a different extend rather pale rump (same colour as back in ssp. cabaret), two whitish wingbars, no obvious white fringes in primaries -> Common Linnet, -> Eurasian Twite


Common Redpoll Acanthis f. flammea
BIF2026, 13/12/2017, Konow, Germany, Roland Neumann
lighter pale grey-brown than other similar sized finches, note the different colour hue between the individuals which sometimes makes it impossible to be sure about ssp.


Common Redpoll Acanthis f. flammea
BIF2028, 13/12/2017, Konow, Germany, Roland Neumann
extend and intensity of flank-streaking very variable, very pale and bull-necked individuals probably of tundra origin could be Arctic Redpolls but ID very difficult (e.g. centre lowest)


Common Redpoll Acanthis f. flammea
Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus M F
European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
BIF2060, 01/01/2018, Parkentin, Germany, Roland Neumann
often mixed with Eurasian Siskin, in direct comparison slightly larger, appears elongated due to longer tail, head rounder with shorter bill, lacks translucent wing-band


Common Redpoll Acanthis f. flammea
BIF2027, 13/12/2017, Konow, Germany, Roland Neumann
at greater distance pale rump and lack of white in primaries are good pointers, due to messy flocking, features not easy to observe, therefore best determined by voice


Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea cabaret, flight call, social call
BIF2029, 14/06/2009, Grainau, Germany, Michéle Peron


– complete overview –

Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea ssp., flight call, social call
BIF2030, 23/10/2008, Greifswalder Oie, Germany, Patrick Franke


Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea ssp., flight call
BIF2031, 19/11/2017, Göthewitz, Germany, Patrick Franke


– complete overview –

Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea ssp., flight call
BIF2032, 25/10/2008, Greifswalder Oie, Germany, Patrick Franke


Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea ssp., flight call
BIF2033, 16/11/2014, Mannhausen, Germany, Patrick Franke



Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea islandica, excitement call in flight, flight call
BIF2034, 14/06/2015, Kerið, Iceland, Patrick Franke


Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea islandica, excitement call in flight
BIF2035, 14/06/2015, Kerið, Iceland, Patrick Franke


Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea islandica, flight call, social call
BIF2036, 27/06/2015, Hrisey, Iceland, Patrick Franke


Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea ssp., 12, flight call
BIF2037, 19/02/2017, Mannhausen, Germany, Patrick Franke

voice:
– very vocal
– huge variation in flight calls due to ‘call matching’ between partners
and flockmates (Mundinger 1979)
– calls learned from parents or other birds near nest
– flight call a fast series of polyphonic rather complex calls, often couplets or triplets
– ‘dry’ almost mechanical timbre like ‘che che’ somewhat similar to Red Crossbill
– social call a 300ms long, polophonic upslur, very similar to Eurasian Siskin

comparison species:
Eurasian Twite (v)
European Greenfinch (a)
Common Linnet (v)
Red Crossbill (a)
Two-barred Crossbill (a)
European Serin (v)
Eurasian Siskin (v)

References:
Ernst, S 1998. Die Birkenzeisige, Verlag der Buchhandlung Klingenthal
Herremans, M 1989. Vocalizations of Common, Lesser and Arctic Redpolls, Dutch Birding 11
Molau, U 1985. Grásiskkomplexet i Sverige, Vár Fágelvërld 44
Mundinger, P C 1979. Call Learning in the Carduelinae: Ethological and Systematic Considerations, Systematic Zoology, Vol. 28
Pieplow, N 2013. Common and Hoary Redpolls, earbirding.com
Pieplow, N 2017, Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Veprintsev, B N & Zablotskaya, M M 1982 . Acoustic communication of the Hornemann’s Redpoll Acanthis hornemanni, Pushchino
Zablotskaya, M M 1981. Acoustical communication of the Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea flammea Pushchino

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