Coues’s Arctic Redpoll No. 7

First winter- 8th Feb 1996

Wintersett Reservoir, West Yorkshire

What follows are photos of 7 different trapped Arctic Redpolls- with very grateful thanks to the guys mentioned below as well as Steve Denny and John Hewitt who sorted out the pics. They range from some pretty obvious ones including adult males and first winters- to some pretty scary ones. I am not challenging any of the identifications; they saw the birds, examined them and recorded relevant details. I am just reflecting on them. They also trapped over 500 Mealy Redpoll- so were well and truly in the Redpoll ID Zone!

These photos help highlight a few aspects of identifying Coues’s Arctic Redpolls.

  • The variable appearance of upperpart tones(especially in different light/ angle of viewing)
  • Some Arctic  Redpolls can be quite brown –toned above
  • Rump streaking is ‘normal’ in Arctic Redpolls- most of these birds have some
  • Flank  streaking is pretty well-marked on one or two birds
  • You can see some variation  in long undertail covert streaks
  • I think a couple of them would be easy to overlook in the field (as expected!)
  • One of them might never get identified in the field!


Wing length: 74mm

Width of dark streak on longest undertail covert- 1.4mm

Length of unstreaked white rump: 8mm (17mm of fine indistinct streaking)

Credit for trapping and photographing  goes to Pete Smith, the late Philip Harrison and John Gardner

Looks like a nice identifiable Arctic Roll. The amount of  white on the rump might be noted as looking a little thin in the field (sub 8mm of white in hand)

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