This afternoon a flock of 32 Redpolls found our feeders and were busy on
the feeders and the ground underneath for at least 30 minutes. Of late
we've only seen one or two Redpolls every couple of days or so.
In this group was one very noticeably larger bird. I'd love to have
some thoughts from those who know about the larger Redpolls of what it
may be. When I first glanced at a Niger seed feeder and saw it filled
with Redpolls, I was quite startled by a clearly larger bird, which I
then realized was indeed also a Redpoll. I later watched for several
minutes the bird in a group of 25 or so birds on the ground. It
generally stayed near the edge of the group.
The body length appeared 15-20% larger than that of the other Redpolls.
This was especially noticeable as they sat on the perches of the
feeder. The body volume was really quite noticeably larger ... maybe
50% or more larger. Seemed pudgy compared with the other Redpolls.
The body striping was bold and extended well up the neck to a well
defined dark necklace. The face was darker than that of the other
Redpolls and there was a hint of patterning in the malars. The body
striping seemed blackish with a very slight touch of brown perhaps; the
dark parts of the back likewise had a very slight tint of warming brown;
and the face likewise had a faint brownness. All this being the case,
the overall appearance of the bird was that it was slightly lighter in
coloration than the other Redpolls, i.e. lightly frosted.
Other than the crown, there was no red coloration anywhere. Notably,
the crown was distinctly more brown than red, and most evidently less
bright and showy than the crowns of any other Redpoll in the flock.
Any thoughts on species/variety would be appreciated.
By the way, one of the other Redpolls with no red tinting of the breast
was striped as the others, but distinctly cream colored on the breast,
belly, and flanks.