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Description of the Hoary Redpoll


The Hoary Redpoll is a small finch with an extensively “frosty” appearance, with brownish-streaked upperparts, pale underparts, boldly streaked flanks, large white wing-bars, a red cap, and a stubby, conical, yellow bill.  Redpolls often have a very fluffy appearance.

Males have a pale pink wash across the breast.  Length: 5 in.  Wingspan: 9 in.

hoary redpoll


hoary redpoll aw
Photograph © Alan Wilson.


Females lack pink on the breast.

Seasonal change in appearance



Juveniles are similar to females but lack a red cap.


Hoary Redpolls breed in brushy tundra, and are found in weedy or brushy fields in winter.


Hoary Redpolls eat primarily seeds, but also some insects.


Hoary Redpolls forage in weed patches, trees, shrubs, or on the ground, usually in flocks during the winter, and often mixed in with Common Redpolls.


Hoary Redpolls breed in northern Canada and Alaska, and winter across southern Canada and parts of the northern U.S.

Fun Facts

The Hoary Redpoll is among the most hardy of North American birds, surviving in bleak Arctic habitats year-round, and seldom coming even as far south as the lower 48 states.


The song is a series of notes and trills, very similar to that of the Common Redpoll. The flight call consists of a "chif chif chif".


The nest is a cup of grass and plant down and is usually placed low in a dense shrub, but sometimes on the ground.

Number: Usually lay 4-5 eggs.
Color: Pale green or blue-green with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 9-14 days, and leave the nest in another 9-14 days, though continuing to associate with the adults for some time.