Lesser Redpoll

Acanthis cabaret - Sizerin cabaret

  • Order 


  • Family


  • Genus


  • Species



Müller, PLS, 1776

  • Size
    : cm
  • Wingspan
    : -
  • Weight
    : -
Geographic range



Sizerin cabaret
♂ adult plum. breeding
Sizerin cabaret
♀ adult plum. breeding

It is extremely difficult to distinguish between the different taxa of Lesser Redpolls based on feathers alone. The location of the sighting is an important initial parameter. Aside from the fairly typical phenotypes, there are many others that are difficult to associate with a specific taxon. In France, only the Lesser Redpoll is a native breeder and winter visitor. The Scarlet Redpoll is a rare and erratic winter visitor. An adult Redpoll can be recognized by the reddish-vermilion forehead and the black bib. The male has an additional pink or red colour on its chest that the female does not have, or is very faint.
The Lesser Redpoll is a bit smaller than the Scarlet Redpoll, from where it gets its english name Lesser Redpoll. The adult, breeding male is darker on its back, without the frosted impression that the Scarlet often has. The mantle does not have the whitish suspenders that are present on the Scarlet, and the two central stripes are simply paler than the others which are tawny. The rump is paler than that of the Scarlet, which makes it less visible in flight. It is coloured pink and is striped. The throat, front of the cheeks, and chest are pink or red, but can be the same reddish-vermilion as the crown in worn feathers. The flanks are more or less striped with brown. The yellowish-straw bill is small and well conical. The feet are rosy to brownish.
The female adult in breeding plumage has a bib that is slightly larger than that of the male, but, most importantly, its chest is rarely coloured like the male's. At most one can see a faint pink hue. The flanks are striped in brown on a ruddy background.
The juvenile is difficult to identify except for the cry, unless it is accompanied by adults. Its head does not have the black and red colouring. The crown is striped in brown-black. The upper parts are tawny and striped with dark brown and white.The wingspan is rufous khaki. The undersides are rufous and heavily streaked with dark brown on the chest and flanks. The beak is brownish.

Subspecific information monotypic species

Foreign names

  • Sizerin cabaret,
  • Pardillo Alpino,
  • pintarroxo-pequeno,
  • Alpenbirkenzeisig,
  • barna zsezse,
  • Kleine Barmsijs,
  • Organetto minore,
  • brunsiska,
  • Brunsisik,
  • stehlík hnedkavý,
  • čečetka tmavá,
  • Lille Gråsisken,
  • passerell alpí,
  • czeczotka brązowa,
  • mazais ķeģis,
  • Малая чечётка,
  • イメベニヒワ,
  • 小白腰朱顶雀,
  • 小朱頂雀,

Voice song and cries

Sizerin cabaret
♂ adult plum. transition

The call, emitted in flight, is very typical of the Lesser Redpoll, less so of the considered species.
The call of the Lesser Redpoll is a sharp, sonorous tchi, most often emitted by two or three tchi tchi tchitchi tchi tchitchitchi....
The song is not very elaborate. It is a chattering including sequences of notes such as tututu tututu, djidjidji..., slililili slilili slililili, srii srii srii, all quite fluid, with rolls and trills.


Two types of habitat must be distinguished. In the north, in Great Britain, in the south of Scandinavia, in the Benelux, in the north of France, in the north and centre of Germany and in Poland, the birds occupy woodland such as alder-ash, birch, riparian woodland, young conifer plantations, coastal dune woodland and locally parks and gardens.

In the south, it is a mountain dweller, nesting in the Upper Jura and Alps above 1,400 m as well as in the Carpathians as far north as Romania. It nests in sub-alpine forests with spruce, larch, Scots pine, birch, rowan and frequents the adjacent meadows.

Behaviour character trait

Sizerin cabaret
♀ adult

You have to be very familiar with its call to spot this small bird that is not very visible. During winter, it has a liking for the seeds of birch trees and it is there that it must be looked for. It is very gregarious during the bad season and it moves around and feeds in groups.


The Lesser Redpoll's wave-like flight, often in groups in wintertime. Careful listening needs to be done to distinguish it from the chirp of a siskin, for example.

Dietfeeding habits

Sizerin cabaret
♀ adult

The Lesser Redpoll is primarily a granivore. It feeds on small seeds of herbaceous plants and trees all year round.

Sizerin cabaret
♀ adult
According to a study, the seeds consumed weigh less than 5 mg. Its fondness for birch seeds is well known, which can make up as much as 90% of its winter diet. In times of shortage, it can resort to alder seed. In the spring, numerous seeds of herbaceous plants (asteraceae, brassicaceae, polygonaceae, etc.) are part of its diet. The young are partially fed with various small invertebrates.

Reproduction nesting

Sizerin cabaret
♂ adult plum. breeding

The breeding season extends from late March to April in the north and from May to July at higher altitudes.

Sizerin cabaret
♀ adult plum. breeding
It seems that pair formation occurs during winter gatherings and that partners arrive together on their territory. The male sings in a circular flight while the female chooses the nesting site. She builds it in a shrub or tree more than 5m above the ground on a branch. The male supplies construction material, twigs, stalks, grass, roots, strips of bark, moss, lichen,...roughly assembled. The cup is lined with hair and feathers. The female lays 4 to 6 light blue eggs, slightly speckled with brown and purple lines and spots at the large end. She incubates them for 10 to 12 days. The young stay in the nest for 9 to 14 days, followed by a similar period under the dependence of adults until they are emancipated at about four weeks. During that time, the female can start to consider conditions for a second clutch, which is typical of this species at least in the plain.

Geographic range

Sizerin cabaret
♂ adult

To the north, the Lesser Redpoll is found in Great Britain, southern Scandinavia, Benelux, northern France, northern and central Germany, and Poland. To the south at higher altitudes, it is found in the High Jura and the Alps above 1400m, as well as in the Carpathians up to northern Romania. The birds are either sedentary or partial migrants depending on the environmental conditions. In winter, they can be found throughout the temperate western Europe.

Threats - protection

Sizerin cabaret
♂ adult plum. breeding
IUCN conservation status
in the Wild

The Lesser Redpoll is locally common to very common and is not threatened.

Sources of information

Other sources of interest

QRcode Sizerin cabaretSpecification sheet created on 27/07/2023 by
Translation by AI Oiseaux.net
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