Lesser redpoll

Lesser Redpoll

©Margaret Holland

Lesser redpoll

Scientific name: Acanthis cabaret
Traditionally a small finch of woodland and scrub, it appears that the lesser redpoll is now moving into our gardens. It has a streaky brown body, red forehead and black bib, and mostly feeds on seeds.

Species information


Length: 12-13cm Wingspan: 22cm Weight: 11g Average Lifespan: 2 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Red under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

When to see

January to December


The lesser redpoll is a small finch of mixed woodland, birch scrub and wet woodland. It spends much of its time feeding on seeds and invertebrates in tall trees, especially Birch, Alder and Larch. It has recently been split from the Common Redpoll to form a separate species. It can be seen in flocks, often with Siskins, and is becoming a more common garden visitor.

How to identify

A very streaky brown finch, the lesser redpoll has a small black bib, and a distinctive red forehead.



Did you know?

There are three species of Redpoll, all of which appear in the UK: the lesser redpoll which nests here, the Mealy or Common Redpoll which nests in Europe and comes here in the winter, and the Arctic Redpoll which is a very rare winter visitor.

How people can help

Whether you live in town or country, you can help to look after garden birds by providing food and water for them. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit the wildlife gardening section of the website, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started. To buy bird food, feeders and other wildlife products, visit the Vine House Farm website (www.vinehousefarm.co.uk) - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm that gives 4% of every sale plus £10 commission for each new customer to The Wildlife Trusts.