Common redpoll

Common redpoll

Carduelis flammea

Common name:

Common redpoll

Scientific name:

Carduelis flammea

Alternative common names:


Description:

The common redpoll is a small brownish-grey finch with dark streaks and a bright red patch on its forehead. It has a black bib and two pale stripes on the wings. They are primarily seed-eaters, and often feed acrobatically.

Additional Information


Where does this species come from?

North America

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 2

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Western Cape Province

How does it spread?

Spread via pet trade.

Why is it a problem?

There are no reported ecological impacts caused by redpolls. They may cause economic losses to orchardists, and are considered a pest in some fruit-growing districts.

What does it look like?

Description: The common redpoll is a small brownish-grey finch with dark streaks and a bright red patch on its forehead. It has a black bib and two pale stripes on the wings. Males often have their breasts suffused with red. It is smaller, browner and more streaked than the generally similar Arctic, adults measuring between 11.5 and 14 centimetres in length and weighing between 12 and 16 grams. The rump is streaked and there is a broad dark brown streak across the vent. It has brown legs, dark-tipped yellowish bills and dark brown irises.

Habitat: Brushy pastures, open thickets, and weedy fields.

Breeding: Redpolls breed in conifer plantations in upland areas. They usually produce two clutches per year. The female incubates the clutch for 10-11 days, the male feeds her while she is on the nest. Young birds fledge by 12 days post-hatching and are cared for by both parents.

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