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Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Arctic vs Mealy Redpolls

These three images show the complexities of separating Arctic Redpolls from Mealy Redpoll. The top image depicts a bird considered to be a first-winter SCANDINAVIAN ARCTIC REDPOLL (form exilipes), photographed at Water's Edge CP, North Lincolnshire, by Graham Catley in March 2006.
Below this is what I would consider a very well marked MEALY REDPOLL (flammea) photographed by Dave Hutton at Marsh Lane GP, West Midlands, in January 2008.
At the bottom, we have a first-winter HORNEMANN'S ARCTIC REDPOLL (hornemanni) photographed by Bob Duckhouse in Shetland in October 2008.
The top two images clearly illustrate the difficulty in separating first-winter redpolls - the Lincolnshire bird had unmarked gleaming white undertail-coverts, an extensive unmarked white rump and a 'pinched-in' bill whilst the West Midlands bird had streaks on the undertail-coverts, streaks in the rump and a pointed bill. Both birds were heavily streaked on the flanks nd both had similar cloak-feathered tarsi.