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Hoary Redpoll is larger and paler with shorter, thicker bill and usually more extensive thigh feathering. Undertail coverts usually unstreaked. Lesser Redpoll smaller, darker and more heavily streaked. Some individuals not safely identified.
Breeds in the northern parts of the New and Old Worlds. Winter range extends farther south, but is not very predictable. An irruptive species, this bird can be abundant in places some winters and completely absent in other winters.
Birds ringed in Norway have been recovered in China just north of the border of North Korea, about 4000 km away from Troms County.
Formerly placed in genus Carduelis. Lesser Redpoll formerly included in this species. A. f. islandica considered a synonym of A. f. rostrata by Clement (2018), Gill & Donsker (2018), and Christides et al (2014). However its validity confirmed by Amouret et al. (2015) and accepted by Clements et al. (2018). A genetic study by Mason & Taylor (2015) found that phenotypic variation in all Redpolls is a result of RNA expressing plumage differences without actual differences in DNA. They advocate lumping all the Redpolls into a single species, but their recommendation has not yet been adopted by major taxonomic authorities.
Amouret, J., Steinauer, K., Hallgrimsson, G.T. & PÃ¡lsson, S. (2015) Evolutionary status of Icelandic Redpolls Carduelis flammea islandica (Aves, Passeriformes, Fringillidae). J. Orn. 156(4): 1035â€“1048. https://doi.org/10.1080/00063657.2015.1125850
Clement, P. (2018). Redpoll (Acanthis flammea). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/61363 on 10 September 2018).
Knox, A. G. and P. E. Lowther (2000). Common Redpoll (Acanthis flammea), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.543
Mason, N.A. & Taylor, S.A. (2015) Differentially expressed genes match bill morphology and plumage despite largely undifferentiated genomes in a Holarctic songbird. Mol. Ecol. 24(12): 3009â€“3025.
Christidis et al. 2014. The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World, version 4.1 (Downloadable checklist). Accessed 11 September 2018 from https://www.howardandmoore.org/