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 redpoll, adults measuring between 11.5 and 14 centimetres (4.5 and 5.5 in) in length and weighing between 12 and 16 grams (0.42 and 0.56 oz). 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 and Distribution
Its typical habitat is boreal forest of pines, spruces and larches. The range of the common redpoll extends through northern Europe and Asia to northern North America, Greenland and Iceland. It is a partial migrant, moving southward in late autumn and northward again in March and April.
It feeds mainly on seeds, principally birch and alder seed in the winter.
The common redpoll builds its nest low down in a tree or bush. The nest has an outer layer of thin twigs, a middle layer of root fibres, fragments of juniper bark and lichens and an inner layer of down, willow buds and reindeer hair. Three to seven speckled eggs are laid and incubated by the female. They hatch after about eleven days and the young fledge in about a further thirteen days.