Common Redpoll

Acanthis flammea
North American Range Map

The Common Redpoll breeds across the northern parts of North America and Eurasia. Both the summer and winter range for these birds varies from year to year, depending on the food supply. These energetic and acrobatic birds forage in small trees and shrubs in their summer and winter homes, sometimes hanging upside-down, penduline style, as they seek the small seeds they depend on for nourishment.

Today’s taxonomists recognise three subspecies of Common Redpoll:

  • A. f. flammea has a large circumpolar range. They breed from Scandinavia east across Russia and Siberia to Kamchatka and the Bering Sea, south to the central Ural Mountains, northern Mongolia, central Asian mountains, and in northern North America from Alaska east to Newfoundland. They spend winters south to northern and central Europe, central and eastern Asia south to Mongolia, northeast China, Korea, Japan and northern and central USA south to Oregon, Colorado and sometimes South Carolina.
  • A. f. rostrata breeds in northern Labrador, Baffin Island, and southern Greenland. They spend winters in the northeastern USA, Iceland, and British Isles, sometimes reaching continental Europe.
  • A. f. islandica breeds in Iceland.

Taxonomists have recently lumped (i.e. merged) the birds formerly known as Hoary Redpolls into this species, and some scientists call them Lesser Redpolls.

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