Living Bird Magazine
Hoary RedpollAcanthis hornemanni
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Fringillidae
A small pale bird of the high Arctic, the Hoary Redpoll is a rare winter visitor to southern Canada and the northern United States. During redpoll invasions, a few paler Hoary Redpolls can sometimes be spotted within flocks of Common Redpolls.More ID Info
- Pardillo Ártico (Spanish)
- Sizerin blanchâtre (French)
This species often comes to bird feeders. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.
- Cool Facts
- Two subspecies of Hoary Redpoll are recognized: the southern (C. h. exilpes) and the Greenland (C. h. hornemanni) forms. The southern form breeds across Canada, Alaska, and Eurasia, and is slightly darker and sleeker. The Greenland form breeds only in the very high Arctic of Greenland and neighboring Canada, and is very pale with a large white rump.
- The Hoary Redpoll will breed in open tundra, but usually in small willows and other shrubs in sheltered areas. When suitable nest sites are unavailable, it has been known to nest in cavities in driftwood.
- The Hoary Redpoll has very fluffy body feathers that help it stay warm in extremely cold temperatures. In addition, it has feathers on areas of its body that are bare in most other birds. If temperatures get too high, a redpoll may pluck out some of its body feathers and get rid of some of its insulation. These feathers will grow back in a few days, but by then in the high arctic environment, temperatures probably will have dropped back to normal.
- The oldest recorded Hoary Redpoll was at least 6 years, 9 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Alaska.