Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


A Hoary Redpoll in Dodge County

Rick Manning, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Copyright 1982, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


On 5 February 1982 I observed and photographed a Hoary Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni) at the bird feeders of Mike Manning. Mike lives approximately 3 miles north of Ames, Dodge Co., Nebraska (R·7-E, T-18-N, sec. 28). This bird was first seen, by Mike, on 3 February, in a mixed flock of approximately 300 American Goldfinches (Carduelis tristis), 50 Pine Siskens (Carduelis pinus), and 6 Common Redpolls (Carduelis flammea). The bird was seen repeatedly by me, Mike Manning, Bob Manning, and John Manning. Normally the flock would start feeding about 7:30 AM and feed on and off until nearly 3:30 PM. The Hoary Redpoll was noticeably lighter and much less streaked than the Common Redpolls. This was very easy to see when the birds were feeding next to each other. Roberts (1974), writing of the Hoard Redpolls, states: "differs from our common redpoll in being generally more hoary, less streaked below, in having the rump unstriped and the undertail coverts pure white without central dark streaks". Bent (1965) states: "the hoary redpoll often associates with the common redpoll in winter flocks and is distinguished from the latter at such times by its frosty appearance". Bent further states that the Common Redpoll is "streaked with sepia and clove-brown above with white wing edgings; rump paler but also streaked. The species flammea may be told by its brownish tone, since most feathers have a buff edging, and by teh streaked rump; the congeneric hornemanni group have frosty-white edging, and an unstreaked rump for the most part." Ridgway (1901) states of the Common Redpoll: "the rump is never white.." Based on these characteristics and the bird field guides, Peterson and the Golden Field Guide, I determined that the bird was a Hoary Redpoll.