Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Greater" Common vs. "Southern" Common Redpoll subspecies - comparison of female plumage

Here is a comparison of typical female-type "Southern" Common Redpoll and the "Greater" Common Redpoll, that is:
  1. "Southern" Common Redpoll (Acanthis flammea flammea)
  2. "Greater" Common Redpoll (Acanthis flammea rostrata)
Compared to the more frequently observed "Southern" Common Redpoll, the "Greater" Common Redpoll:
  • is ~10% longer and ~25% heavier
  • has reduced pale feather edgings
  • has darker, bolder, more extensive streaking on flanks and undertail coverts
  • has more extensive black on the face
  • has darker auriculars, nape and back
  • has a proportionately longer tail
  • has a proportionately heavier bill (not apparent in these photos)
[click on images to enlarge - note that in the third image, the birds have traded places]

Acknowledgment: Thanks to Ron Pittaway and Michel Gosselin for their comments on an earlier version of this posting.

Related resources:

From Ron Pittaway
From David Sibley
Peer reviewed
  • Knox, Alan G. and Peter E. Lowther. 2000. Hoary Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/544 doi:10.2173/bna.544,
  • Troy, D.M. 1985. A phenetic analysis of the redpolls Carduelis flammea flammea and. C. hornemanni exilipes. Auk 102: 82-96 [pdf].
  • Wetherbee, O.P. 1937. A study of wintering Hoary, Common, and Greater Redpolls, and various intermediates or hybrids. Bird-Banding 8(1): 1-10 [pdf].

    1 comment:

    1. Great review!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.