Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis cabaret)

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 cabaret German: Alpenbirkenzeisig Spanish: Pardillo Alpino

Fringilla cabaret

Statius Müller

, 1776,



Previously placed in genus Acanthis. Was until recently considered conspecific with C. flammea, and evidence from mitochondrial DNA suggests that the two, together with C. hornemanni, 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 has hybridized with C. flammea and C. cannabina. Birds from Argyll, in SW Scotland, described as race disruptis on basis of more tawny-brown upperparts with purer black streaks, but differences small and within range of individual variation of species, and considered insufficient to warrant naming of geographical races. Monotypic.


Breeds British Is, SW Norway, S Sweden, Denmark, and N & NE France E to S Belgium and Netherlands; also N & C Germany, Alps (from SE France E to Austria) and Carpathians (SE Czech Republic and S Poland, possibly also N Romania). Widespread in NC & S Europe in non-breeding season.

Descriptive notes

11·5–12·5 cm; 9–12 g. Small to medium-sized, brownish, streaky finch with pale wingbars, short, conical bill and slightly forked tail. Male breeding has lower... read more


Very similar to that of C. flammea. Song, usually from prominent perch or during display-... read more


Open deciduous and coniferous woodlands, principally including birch (Betula) and larch (... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly plant and tree seeds, buds, also small invertebrates. Seeds include those of birch, spruce (Picea), pine (Pinus),... read more


Season, late Mar or early Apr–Jun; two broods, but often only in years with good food supply. Monogamous; exceptionally polygamous.... read more


Resident and migratory. Alpine breeders largely sedentary or make post-breeding descent short... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common to locally common. Densities of more than 50 pairs/km2 on heaths and upland birch forests in Britain, 100–400 pairs/km2 in mixed larch... read more

Recommended citation

Clement, P. (2020). Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis cabaret). 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 27 February 2020).