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Hoary Redpoll - Acanthis hornemanni

The extent of pink on Hoary Redpolls is generally less than on Common Redpolls, and as such, the plumage differences between age/sex classes are even more subtle; except for extremes, examination of the wing and tail is usually required to be confident of age and sex.

Two distinct subspecies of Hoary Redpolls are recognized; while hornemanniis somewhat larger and paler than exilipes, ageing and sexing considerations are similar for both.

Quick Tips:

  • Consider the overall plumage - individuals with extensive pink patches are usually AHY/ASY males, but those lacking it may be HY/SY males or females of any age
  • Examine the wing - HY/SY birds usually have a molt limit among the greater coverts (occasionally between the median and greater coverts, or between the greater and primary coverts); AHY/ASY birds lack a molt limit
  • Look at the outer rectrices - they are narrow and distinctly pointed at the tip on HY/SY birds, and somewhat broader and more rounded on AHY/ASY birds

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory

  • Reference (3)
  • Supplemental (0)
  • Contributed (0)
Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.
Age / Sex  Image sets 
Second year / Unknown
Lacking any pink plumage; molt limit among greater coverts, or between greater and median coverts; rectrices relatively narrow and pointed; narrow streaks on longest undertail coverts
Thumbnail - MG2-2650-25778-Acanthis_hornemanni_AOU_7_52-3267.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-25778-Acanthis_hornemanni_AOU_7_52-3265.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-25778-Acanthis_hornemanni_AOU_7_52-3266.jpg
After second year / Male
Breast, flanks, and rump showing some degree of pink; no molt limit among greater coverts; outer rectrices relatively broad and rounded; longest undertail coverts usually lacking streaks
Thumbnail - MG2-2650-45245-Acanthis_hornemanni_AOU_7_52-3270.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-45245-Acanthis_hornemanni_AOU_7_52-3268.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2650-45245-Acanthis_hornemanni_AOU_7_52-3269.jpg
After second year / Female
Breast and rump usually lacking or with a slight tinge of pink; no molt limit among greater coverts; outer rectrices relatively broad and rounded; longest undertail coverts lacking streaks or with narrow ones
Thumbnail - MG2-9900-00010-Acanthis_hornemanni_AOU_7_52-3272.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-9900-00010-Acanthis_hornemanni_AOU_7_52-3271.jpg

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
Second year / Male Breast and rump with a tinge of pink; molt limit among greater coverts, or between greater and median coverts; rectrices relatively narrow and pointed; narrow streaks on longest undertail coverts
Juvenile / Unknown Largely brown, lacking red on crown and black on throat
Hatch year / Male Breast and rump with a tinge of pink; molt limit among greater coverts, or between greater and median coverts; rectrices relatively narrow and pointed; narrow streaks on longest undertail coverts
After hatch year / Male Breast, flanks, and rump showing some degree of pink; no molt limit among greater coverts; outer rectrices relatively broad and rounded; longest undertail coverts usually lacking streaks
After hatch year / Female Breast and rump usually lacking or with a slight tinge of pink; no molt limit among greater coverts; outer rectrices relatively broad and rounded; longest undertail coverts lacking streaks or with narrow ones
Hatch year / Unknown Lacking any pink plumage; molt limit among greater coverts, or between greater and median coverts; rectrices relatively narrow and pointed; narrow streaks on longest undertail coverts
Number of species: 80

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