HOARY REDPOLL (Acanthis hornemanni) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Hoary (or Arctic) Redpoll male has a red forehead patch on a grey-brown head. Back is grey with dark streaks. Wings are brown with a white bar. Breast can be washed out pink. Under parts are light grey to whitewith streaks on the sides. There is a small black patch between bill and eye, also one on the throat. Eyes are black. Bill is conical and dark grey. Legs are grey. Females are similar but have no pink on the breast. Bird length is about 13 cm (5 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Acanthis-hornemanni
NAME: The ‘poll’ part of the English name ‘Redpoll’ refers to an old word for ‘head’. ‘Hoary’ is from Anglo-saxon ‘hoar’ and means ‘white’. Latin genus name ‘Acanthis’ means ‘a bird fond of thistles’, in reference to the bird’s diet. Latin species name ‘hornemanni’ given to the bird in honor of Danish botanist Jens Wilken Hornemann. Outside North America this species is known as the ‘Arctic’ Redpoll.
HABITAT: Tundra, mountain birch areas.
DIET: Seeds, also insects and arthropods in the summer. Attracted to bird feeders.
NESTING: Nest is built in a tree or shrub near the ground. From three to six light blue eggs are laid, incubated by female. Chicks fed likely fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeding range in the arctic around the globe. Migrates to boreal forests and the taiga in the winter.
Distribution map: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Acanthis-hornemanni, also: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Hoary_Redpoll/maps-range.
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, rare in spring or winter.
CONSERVATION: Widespread, not currently at risk.
NOTES: Hoary redpolls are known to hybridize with the Common Redpoll. When migrating, often seen in flocks of common redpolls.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Common Redpoll (here’s an article to tell the two species apart: https://www.thespruce.com/common-redpoll-or-hoary-redpoll-386347 ) – also House Finch, Pine Siskin
REFERENCES: https://www.borealbirds.org/bird/hoary-redpoll
http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABPBY06020 (Montana Field Guide)
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/linnut/arctic-redpoll (Nature Gate Finland)
https://birdatlas.mb.ca/accounts/speciesaccount.jsp?sp=HORE&lang=en (Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas)

Hoary Redpoll - Arctic Scandinavia - Apr. 2014 - photo by Ron Knight
Hoary Redpoll – Arctic Scandinavia – Apr. 2014 – photo by Ron Knight
Hoary Redpoll - Finland - Mar. 2013 - photo by Francesco Veronesi
Hoary Redpoll – Finland – Mar. 2013 – photo by Francesco Veronesi