Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Arctic Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni)

Following the taxonomy applied to HBW Alive, derived from the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, this taxon is now lumped within Redpoll (Acanthis flammea).


French: Sizerin blanchâtre German: Polarbirkenzeisig Spanish: Pardillo Ártico
Other common names: Tundra Redpoll, Hoary Redpoll, Hornemann's Redpoll (hornemanni)

Linota hornemanni


, 1843,

Ameralikfjord, Greenland


Previously placed in genus Acanthis. Relationships with closely related C. flammea complex, and in the past was considered either a colour morph or a race of that species, but differs in measurements, structure and plumage, and breeding ranges overlap widely with little or only occasional interbreeding; evidence from mitochondrial DNA suggests that the two, together with C. cabaret, are probably best regarded as closely related sister-species or forming a superspecies; despite wide genetic variation within their ranges, however, recent studies have found little support for lineage division between arctic-breeding and boreal-breeding redpolls, and comprehensive review of gene flow still required in order to determine species limits; pending conclusions of any review, may need to be reclassified within Acanthis. Present species hybridizes with C. flammea in N Norway. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution

Descriptive notes

11·5–14 cm; 10–16 g (exilipes), 17–20 g (nominate). Medium-sized, grey to whitish, streaky finch with broad pale wingbars, short, conical... read more


Song mainly of call notes repeated in varying upwardly inflected combinations and ending with long... read more


Breeds in high-arctic tundra, including heaths, ravines and rocky mountain slopes with stunted... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly small seeds, buds, shoots and catkins, principally of shrubs and trees, mainly birch, alder, willow and conifers, also of various... read more


Season May–Jul; one brood, possibly two in parts of N Canada and Siberia. Monogamous. Solitary and loosely colonial; territorial... read more


Resident and partial migrant, occasionally irruptive; movements, especially of race exilipes... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common or locally common. Breeding numbers at many localities variable from one year to another, from absent to abundant. Estimated population in... read more

Recommended citation

Clement, P., Arkhipov, V. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Arctic Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 April 2019).