Carduelis cabaret
Bird Songs
Redpoll call


New Zealand status: Introduced

Conservation status: Introduced and Naturalised

The redpoll is the smallest of New Zealand's introduced finches and has a distinctive red patch on the its head.

Redpolls are brownish and streaked, with both male and female sporting the red crown patch. Adult males have a variable amount of pink on the lower throat and breast. This only appears after the bird’s second moult, so first-year males are indistinguishable from females in the field. Some adult females and first-year males may have a slight pink flush on the breast, but this is not normally visible in the field. Juveniles are similar to the adult female, but are paler and lack any red colouration on the crown.

From a distance, the redpoll could be confused with a female house sparrow, which is similarly streaked. However, the sparrow is a larger bird with a heavier bill, and it also lacks any red or pink in its plumage.

Find out more about redpolls


Adult redpoll. Credit: Oscar Thomas.