Redpoll (Acanthis flammea)
Redpoll Information & Facts
The redpoll is primarily a bird of the arctic tundra, from where it invades central and southern Europe in large numbers every autumn.
Length: 12.5 cm. The male has a redder throat and rump.
Voice: The characteristic flight call is a rapid ‘chuch-uch- uch’ or ‘tiu-tiu-tiu’. Alarm note is a plaintive
Song: A sustained series of brief trills.
Size of Egg: 14.3 — 17.5 x 10.0 – 13.2 mm.
Redpoll is found also in alpine regions at the dwarf-pine limits, especially the Swiss and Italian Alps, as well as in England and Ireland, where it is found even in lowland country, and more recently in many places in central Europe. It is becoming more and more plentiful in central Europe, where it nests in mountains and hill country. Its characteristic habitat is pure birch stands or mixed woods with birch.
In May Redpoll builds a nest of slender twigs, stalks and grasses, lined with hairs and horsehair, usually located in bushes in the mountains, in dwarf-pine or short trees, generally 1.5 to 3 metres above the ground. In the arctic regions, redpoll usually does not nest until June. Frequently several pairs join to form a large nesting colony.
The 5 to 6 eggs are incubated for 10 to 12 days by the hen, while the male brings her food. The young, which leave the nest at the age of 10 to 14 days, are fed insects and insect larvae by both parents, who continue to feed them for a further 10 to 14 days after they have fledged. The mainstay of the adult birds’ diet is seeds, especially those of alder, birch and conifers.
When the offspring are sufficiently independent, the parent birds often rear a second brood. In winter, groups of redpolls often visit parks and gardens which have birch or other trees and seed-bearing bushes.