The Natural range of the redpoll is the northern parts of North America, Europe and Asia where they may migrate to lower latitudes in the winter.

The lesser repoll was one of the the species included in a shipment of various kinds of birds imported to Nelson in 1862. It was subsequently released in other parts of New Zealand and became widely established.

In New Zealand, they feed on grass seeds and weed seeds such as dock, fat hen thistles and evening primrose. The female builds the nest in a tree or bush, usually in scrub such as gorse, briar or lupin. The nest is a small untidy cup of fine twigs and grass, lined with feathers and hair. The smooth, glossy eggs are pale blue with pale pink or lilac markings, and about 17 mm by 13 mm. Incubation is by the female only. The young are fed by both parents, usually seeds only.

The lesser redpoll, Carduelis cabaret, has recently been split from the common or mealy redpoll, Carduelis flammea, a larger and paler species, according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Sub Species:

Other common names:  — 

mealy redpoll, lesser redpoll, common redpoll

Description:  — 

Introduced bird

12 cm., 12 g., upperparts grey-brown with black streaks, two buff coloured wing bars, dark streaks on the whitish flanks, and a dark brown forked tail, red forehead and black bib; females similar to males, except in the summer when they are duller and rarely have any pink in the plumage.

Where to find:  — 

Common in South Island, especially in higher drier areas; in the North Island, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa.

Youtube video  — 

»»»  Redpoll

Poetry:  — 

The Bird watcher

In Wall Street once a potent power,
And now a multi–millionaire
Alone within a shady bower
In clothes his valet would not wear,
He watches bird wings bright the air.

The man who mighty mergers planned,
And oil and coal kinglike controlled,
With field–glasses in failing hand
Spies downy nestlings five days old,
With joy he could not buy for gold.

Aye, even childlike is his glee;
But how he crisps with hate and dread
And shakes a clawlike fist to see
A kestrel hover overhead:
Though he would never shoot it dead.

Although his cook afar doth forage
For food to woo his appetite,
The old man lives on milk and porridge
And now it is his last delight
At eve if one lone linnet lingers
To pick crushed almonds from his fingers.

 — Robert William Service

Illustration description: — 


Gould, John, Birds of Great Britain, 1862–73.

Lewin, William, Birds of Great Britain, 1st edition water colours, 1789–1794.

Reference(s): — 


Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.

Oliver, W.R.B., New Zealand Birds, 1955.

Page date & version: — 


Monday, 26 August, 2019; ver2009v1


©  2005    Narena Olliver,    new zealand birds limited,     Greytown, New Zealand.