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Redpoll ID (1 Viewer)


This "redpoll" was photographed on 19-11-2005 in The Netherlands. The pictures are taken bij mij brother.

Can anybody help us with the ID of this bird?


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Hi Goudvink,

I'm always careful about evaluating features from photographs on 'tricky' groups such as redpolls, but seeing as no-one else has replied to your post, I'll give you my opinion, based on what I can see here.

I'm pretty confident that the bird is an Arctic Redpoll, (exilipes), although not so sure about the second bird in picture 4 (not much to go on). In brief, the reasons why I think it's an Arctic:

Obviously, the rump appears unstreaked. One of the photographs shows the rump quite well and I can't see any signs of any streaks/peppering here. Thats a good starting point!. Secondly, the undertail coverts appear to be unstreaked and very clean (cleaner than some arctics I have seen). The flank streaking is very light and pretty indiscriminate. Mealy Redpoll often shows quite heavy streaks (although this can be a rather dodgy feature, depending on how the feathers are arranged). Other back-up features, which also point to Arctic is the rather shaggy like 'trousers' and the overall cold ground colour and mantle streaks. It just 'feels' good for one.

The one feature I don't like is the bill size, but this can vary enormously between individual birds, and is also difficult to judge on photographs.

Overall, the evidence strongly points to an Arctic Redpoll. I'm lucky in that I see lots of redpolls here in the Northern Isles (including Greenland/Iceland/North-western) and I've trapped quite a few this autumn (including an Arctic). They are not at all easy though (contrary to some beliefs). Hope this helps. Cheers, Paul
Agreed with Paul here - looks like exilipes Arctic Redpolls to me. I presume the second bird shown in picture 4 is a Mealy Redpoll (Carduelis flammea). Thats what it looks like anyway.
Sorry - I just want to get this straight:
Lesser Redpoll is the most common species in Britain and carduelis flammea cabaret?
Mealy Redpoll is carduelis flammea flammea?
Arctic Redpoll is carduelis hornemanni?
Raptors Rule said:
Sorry - I just want to get this straight:
Lesser Redpoll is the most common species in Britain and carduelis flammea cabaret?
Mealy Redpoll is carduelis flammea flammea?
Arctic Redpoll is carduelis hornemanni?
According to the Official British List from the BOU:

Lesser Redpoll Carduelis cabaret
Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea
Arctic Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni

The BOU website is here
Further to this, the UK400 club lists redpolls as the following:

Mealy Redpoll, carduelis flammea
Greenland Redpoll, carduelis rostrata
Lesser Redpoll, carduelis cabaret
Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll, carduelis hornemanni
Scandinavian Arctic Redpoll, carduelis exilipes
Thank you very much for the answers about the ID of the "Redopll" so far.

The main discussion in The Netherlands is why this bird is not just a pale
example of a Mealy Redpoll (Flammea). Some critical people has the opinion
that this bird is not an Arctic redpoll because:

- The mantle is too dark (lacks the whitish base colour).
- Flanks too heavy streaked.
- The bill is too large.
- Eear-coverts too dark.
- White supercilium not reaching above the bill.
- and especially the bird lacks the well known "jizz" of an Arctic Redpoll
(not like an "frosty snowball", neckless, bulky, fluffy, etc.).

Some people think that all the features shown by this bird are possible for
Mealy Redpoll. Is this right?

I have attached some other pictures of the same bird, and I would be very
thankful if you give us your opinion about this bird.

With kind regards,

Willem van Rijswijk


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Interesting - I wouldn't like to stick my neck out either way. Initial reaction based on general colouration, structure and jizz is of Mealy, for me...

... but then there's a big unmarked white rump, and the undertail coverts appear entirely unstreaked (though only based on the fifth photo) - I thought this latter feature was pretty much diagnostic for Arctic? (OK, I know features can't be "pretty much diagnostic" ;) )

I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that this is in fact a Mealy.... and that a whole load of Arctic records are no longer verifiable.
Also upper tail coverts (not rump) seems to be quite heavy streaked (pic 2 & 6) !
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I received your email, thanks, but thought better to reply in public, ok?

Some interesting points are raised above. Looking at the additional photos you have posted, I still think the bird is an Arctic. Yes, I accept that 'pale' Common Redpoll is a problem, and yes, some of the features shown by Arctic Redpoll and Common Redpoll overlap BUT based on the percentage of features, your bird shows them all. If it only showed a selection of the features for an Arctic, then I would certainly be 'on the fence' but I think that if a bird shows ALL the features then you have to say it is one or at least has a very good chance of being a pukka Arctic.

Here, on Fair Isle, this autumn we have had lots of big/small/dark/pale/white/brown redpolls (and all other combination in between) and it is a very brave man who tries and puts a name to them all, unless they are trapped of course, when biometics can certainly help. Of all the redpolls that I have trapped and seen in the hand, I have yet to see a Mealy that shows clean undertail coverts and a white rump....I may have just been (un)lucky

cheers, Paul
Does it some differences between the size of throat patch between these species ?

How well is known this hybrilization of this two species:
Carduelis hornemanni exilipes X Carduelis flammea flammea
Carduelis h. hornemanni X Carduelis f. rostrata
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