Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 201

Common name:

Common Redpoll

Scientific name: Acanthis flammea
Date: November 23, 2012
Time: 9:15 a.m.
Length of time observed: 2 hours
Number: 2
Age: One adult (male), One 1st-year (female)
Sex: M, F
Location: Powder Ridge Village Condominiums
County: Weber
Latilong: 41�22"14.62"N 111�46'05.34"W
Elevation: 8775 ft
Distance to bird: 12-50 feet
Optical equipment: 8 x 42 binos, 80 mm scope w/20-60x zoom eyepiece
Weather: bright and sunny, temps 30s-40s, snow on the ground
Light Conditions: sunny with high, thin clouds
Description:        Size of bird: Similar to Pine Siskin, but plumper and head bigger in proportion
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Plump, small finch
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Streaky white and brown upper with raspberry crown; mostly white underparts with side streaking and pink wash (male only) on breast
(Description:)            Bill Type: conical
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Both redpolls: Small finch about 3/4 the size of the many Gray-crowned Rosy-finches present.

Bare parts: Yellow bill, black eyes, black legs and feet.


Head: Feathering just above forehead, around eyes and just below lower mandible (like a goatee) black. Whitish stripe above black forehead. Forecrown raspberry from whitish stripe up to highest point of crown above eye. Rear crown to nape: streaky brown. Thin white eye-arcs above and below eyes. Cheeks and auriculars: streaky brown.

Upperparts: Mantle/scapulars/back: streaked with alternating thin braces of brown and tan. Wings: generally brown; tertials but not primaries or secondaries edged in off-white. One strong whitish wingbar on greater coverts; one short, often obscured by overlapping scapulars whitish wingbar on what appeared to be median coverts. Tail: Brown, deeply notched. Didn't see the uppertail coverts.

Underparts: Breast: base color white, sides streaked brown giving a vested appearance.
Belly: white. Undertail coverts: white, streaked.

Female only: Auriculars faintly outlined at rear edge in brown; faint pink blush on forward cheek under eye. Upper breast and breast-sides washed in gold. Undertail coverts with short, very narrow streaks.

Male only: Faint pink blush on cheeks under eye, otherwise diffuse light brown cheeks. Breast and breast sides: washed with a strong rosy-pink. Undertail coverts: Nearly pure white; streaking not visible to the eye in person, but showed in some images viewed later.

(see photos)

Song or call & method of delivery: Did not detect the redpoll's call above the noisy throng of up to 75 rosy-finches.
Behavior: Not as flighty as the rosy-finches. Often remained in saplings close to the feeder when the rosy-finches flushed, perching quietly totether. Fed on millet/sunflower seed mix in feeder tray and on the ground.
Habitat: Aspen grove near treeline in mixed coniferous/deciduous/alpine tundra at 8,700 feet elevation
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Combination of yellow bill, white and brown streaky pattern and raspberry crown eliminates all species, especially finches, except Hoary Redpoll. Size of bill on both birds indicates Common Redpoll; obvious undertail covert streaking on female and slight pink blush on cheeks indicate Common; deep rosy on male's breast and slight pink on cheeks indicates Common.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
References consulted: Sibley
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Kristin Purdy
Observer's address: Ogden, Utah
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other Observers: Jack Rensel, Mike Hearell, Taylor Abbott
Date prepared: November 25, 2012
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: Notes taken independently of viewing photos